|Winter in the Vineyard|
Riding along the backroads of California’s Central Coast during the winter months, particularly throughout Paso Robles Wine Country, it may appear as though work in the vineyards is over and that the vineyard managers, crews, and winemakers are off to more tropical and balmy destinations. However, while the bare bones of the vines appear dormant beneath the gray skies, it’s a busy time of year—good news for Paso Robles Wine Club members who are looking forward tasting new wines in the coming months.
A vineyard is never really dormant, for the work goes on year round. Here are some of the things that are happening in the winter vineyard:
Preserving and Improving Soil Conditions: During the winter months, cover crops, such as mustard, clover and alfalfa are planted to enrich the soil and prevent erosion. These cover crops also serve to increase fertility and to produce a habit for beneficial insects.
Pruning the Vines: There’s a greater purpose to a manicured vineyard that goes beyond creating a pleasing visual landscape. Pruned vines increase productivity—in both yield and harvest—and increase efficiency.
Repairing and Installing the Trellis System: The winter months are when crews can tend to repairing old trellis systems and installing new ones. A strong trellis system improves the health and yield of the vines and increases productivity of vineyard management.
Tending to the Wine: Inside the wineries, winemakers tend to their barrels and checking on the fermentation process—all of the little things that add up to putting a quality product into the bottle and eventually, into your class.