January is a busy month around our estate vineyard, Fiddlestix. Here's what we're doing this time of year:
1. Hay & Cover Crops - We use hay to prevent soil erosion on steep slopes. The cover crops we plant between the vine rows also help minimize soil erosion, as well provide supplemental nutrients to the vines. In the springtime, be sure to look for the flowers in the cover crop, which attract beneficial insects.
2. Pruning Decisions - Like most Americans, now is the time of year when we think about cutting back. But instead of delicious desserts, we are talking about the vines! We do this to regulate the number of growing positions on the fruiting cane and to stimulate healthy new cane growth, both of which foster the highest fruit quality.
3. Frost Protection - While we can't protect our ears from our assistant winemaker, Stephen, singing 'Let It Go' from Disney's Frozen, we can protect the vines from frost that attacks in the early morning hours. To counteract mother nature (or Elsa!) we use our wind machines to create airflow and to circulate the inversion layer around our vulnerable new buds.
All this hard work pays off when we see the first buds in the springtime of the new year, which signals the start of another fabulous vintage!