In the Vineyard: March 2010

Riverbench Vineyard: new buds

Our earliest varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are beginning to emerge with new growth from their dormancy in mid November. The buds are between bud swell and rosette stages depending on their age, variety, and elevation.

We have been controlling weeds around the base of the vines and have begun trapping gophers. Both of these pests can do damage to the vines and compete for water and nutrients.

The last few months have been great to recharge our soils with rain water and I expect to see even, moderate growth from the vines over the next few months. This time of year is great because we get to see for the first time what the 2010 vintage may offer. As growth continues and shoots get to be about six inches long we will get our first glimpse of the clusters. Small, green and indistinguishable to most onlookers, they will emerge from the expanding tissue.

I hope everyone enjoys this time of year driving by the vineyards of the Santa Maria Valley. Mornings with overhead sprinklers running to protect from frost damage and the long vine rows with new bright green tips of growth. Enjoy the daylight hours stretching into to evening with one of our delicious Chardonnay or Pinot Noirs and we’ll keep an eye on the new fruit “in the vineyard.”

Jim Stollberg manages vineyards for Maverick Farming Company in the Santa Maria Valley. He can be reached at (805)310-9322 or <


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