2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

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Merrill Lindquist
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2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#1 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 1st, 2020, 3:08 pm

Just got in from my New Year's Eve celebration, was poking around the Board, and realized we needed a new thread for the new year. Happy New Year to all the farmers, and to all the people who read and comment here.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#2 Post by R M Kriete » January 1st, 2020, 5:37 pm

Happy New Year and keep those updates coming!

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#3 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 2nd, 2020, 8:59 am

Bump for bookmark.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#4 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 2nd, 2020, 5:03 pm

We are having a string of warm days and cool nights. There is still plenty of moisture in the ground from all that rain we had.

The cover crops are responding to the pattern of rain and then warm sun. I'll get a photo tomorrow - everything is just bright green.

I have not seen any pruning going on - not even any first cuts that some farmers do. I'll wait at least a month - maybe two.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#5 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 2nd, 2020, 6:44 pm

Ok. First post of 2020. I did go back and look at some of the past 3-4 years threads.....pretty interesting.

Now have 6 ladies prepruning and 12 men pruning. Gals started today. They will remove last year's cane and prep the vine for the final steps. My 2700 vine 3 acre Gruner Veltliner block is done. I did over half and then enlisted two of my best guys to finish. Probably going to have 10 tons this year. Will have about 5-6 tons to sell.

On the sales front, going to have to polish up my charm offensive. I have about 40 tons of Chardonnay and the same amount of Pinot to sell (TELL YOUR FRIENDS). Not going to be easy in the current situation.

Here's a thanks that follow this thread. If you ever find yourself in Philo and want to see the ranch ill do my best to show you.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#6 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 3rd, 2020, 5:55 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
January 2nd, 2020, 6:44 pm
Ok. First post of 2020. I did go back and look at some of the past 3-4 years threads.....pretty interesting.

Now have 6 ladies prepruning and 12 men pruning. Gals started today. They will remove last year's cane and prep the vine for the final steps. My 2700 vine 3 acre Gruner Veltliner block is done. I did over half and then enlisted two of my best guys to finish. Probably going to have 10 tons this year. Will have about 5-6 tons to sell.

On the sales front, going to have to polish up my charm offensive. I have about 40 tons of Chardonnay and the same amount of Pinot to sell (TELL YOUR FRIENDS). Not going to be easy in the current situation.

Here's a thanks to all that follow this thread. If you ever find yourself in Philo and want to see the ranch ill do my best to show you.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#7 Post by R M Kriete » January 12th, 2020, 6:47 am

Updates?

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#8 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 12th, 2020, 10:46 am

Cold mornings! And it rains at night very often, although the afternoons are quite pleasant. There are plenty of puddles and standing water in some of the low vineyards. The ground remains very wet (I saw a tractor stuck out in a vineyard in my travels the other day).

Plenty of vineyards are accomplishing their first cuts, and a few have done the true, finished pruning. Other than that, not a lot is going on.
The first narcissus have bloomed - as a former Bostonian, this early flowering catches me by surprise.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#9 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 15th, 2020, 5:15 am

So overall winter rainfall is normal? High? Low?
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#10 Post by Steve Edmunds » January 15th, 2020, 8:34 am

We're down a few inches in Berkeley

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#11 Post by Steve Edmunds » January 16th, 2020, 6:19 pm

we got a little over an inch of those back today

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#12 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 20th, 2020, 6:03 pm

IMG_20200118_190254498.jpg
Well I've been goofing off for a couple of weeks. Visited the job sight briefly today to bring payroll and warm vibes to my people. I kind of think they hated the tan I was sporting and likely a couple of extra pounds too.

We are a bit ahead on labor for this date so I'm sending some folks to go help others for a month or so.

Will inspect my ponds and other important matters tomorrow.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#13 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 21st, 2020, 6:59 am

Zihuatenejo, eh? Did you do any offshore fishing while you where there?

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#14 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 21st, 2020, 8:07 am

Edward H. Earles wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 6:59 am
Zihuatenejo, eh? Did you do any offshore fishing while you where there?
Wish I could Ed, but the big water and I don't get along. Seems I'm just a redneck destined to roam the hills and bag an occasional deer, pig or elk!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#15 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 21st, 2020, 9:20 am

It is raining steadily and has been all morning here UpValley. I don't keep track of rainfall totals, but here in Calistoga I am betting we have better than average inches so far this season.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#16 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 21st, 2020, 11:22 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 9:20 am
It is raining steadily and has been all morning here UpValley. I don't keep track of rainfall totals, but here in Calistoga I am betting we have better than average inches so far this season.
The National Weather Service's interactive Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service website shows Calistoga at between 75% and 90% of normal precipitation for the water-year-to-date (from October 1st) as of today.

https://water.weather.gov/precip/

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#17 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 21st, 2020, 11:53 am

Although there's been numerous rainy days this fall and early winter we are behind. Ukiah normal by January 20 is 19 inches. Last year by now it was 17. This year is 9 inches. Streams really have yet to sustain much flow after storms. We need lots more.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#18 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 22nd, 2020, 4:35 pm

Happy to see a few of my ponds full today. Streams starting to flow somewhat. A few more weather events and we'll see more runoff now that we've had near 10 inches.

Pruned some 4 year old Chard vines with fat canes and realized that my grip got out of shape holding beer bottles for two weeks.

Will get some pics up tomorrow.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#19 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 24th, 2020, 5:41 pm

Spent the morning in my jammies doing office work. Got my 48 W-2's done and delivered/mailed. Visited both of my crews today. Luckily nobody commented on my tan from two weeks in the sun while they stood in the fog of Anderson Valley working. Help my Two wrench turners with a bad bearing on a mower. Still have LOTS of acres to prune. Not feeling so comfortable with our hand work.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#20 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 25th, 2020, 7:42 am

Not a lot to report other than more crews are out - some still making first cuts and some actually doing the final cuts.

It rains or drizzles almost every day, including a light rain overnight. Going to check in on my vintages in barrel (2018 and 2019) this coming week, which is my norm for January.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#21 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 25th, 2020, 3:17 pm

65 degrees and cloudy with occasional drizzle here in Calistoga. So warm without sun.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#22 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 26th, 2020, 12:08 pm

Pretty steady rain overnight, but by 7:30 the sun had come out. Partly cloudy, now, but mostly sunny with a light breeze. Temperature around 60.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#23 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 26th, 2020, 1:19 pm

.91 inches in the last 24 hours. Hell, I'll take that!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#24 Post by Paul Gordon » January 26th, 2020, 3:20 pm

We just hit 18in for the season. After the very dry November we have had an average number of rain events they have just not produced much rain. Really lacking those 6-8in storms. Not as dry as winters 2014 and 2015 but well short of winters 2017-19. Fingers crossed for a wet February.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#25 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 28th, 2020, 7:27 am

It is raining again this morning...I thought we were having a sunny day every day this week. Calistoga in the Valley floor where my vineyard is has more rain than other rain in Napa Valley - crazy.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#26 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 28th, 2020, 8:36 am

Temps in our area going to almost touch 70 degrees on Friday. Everyone but guys like me will LOVE it. This will be one of those mid winter 'false springs' that commonly happen. Early plants like plum trees and quince will start to pop. Ill just hope my vineyard won't be paying much attention.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#27 Post by Rick Allen » January 28th, 2020, 2:12 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 8:36 am
Temps in our area going to almost touch 70 degrees on Friday. Everyone but guys like me will LOVE it. This will be one of those mid winter 'false springs' that commonly happen. Early plants like plum trees and quince will start to pop. Ill just hope my vineyard won't be paying much attention.
Up in Oregon we call that the "February Fake-out". Seems to happen every year.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#28 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 29th, 2020, 8:56 am

Rick Allen wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 2:12 pm
Casey Hartlip wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 8:36 am
Temps in our area going to almost touch 70 degrees on Friday. Everyone but guys like me will LOVE it. This will be one of those mid winter 'false springs' that commonly happen. Early plants like plum trees and quince will start to pop. Ill just hope my vineyard won't be paying much attention.
Up in Oregon we call that the "February Fake-out". Seems to happen every year.
In New England, the last week of January is referred to as the "January Thaw." That hopeful break in a LONG winter that does indeed give hope that Spring will arrive, eventually. This week is the same here. Not waking up freezing and no coat necessary in the afternoon. I love Napa Valley weather, but my heart still has a place for Boston weather.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#29 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 29th, 2020, 1:36 pm

IMG_20200129_120006773_HDR.jpg
IMG_20200129_115935628_HDR.jpg
Finally get to show the cover crop progress. It's certainly moving considering the late start, but a week or so of warmer weather will make it zoom. I'd say it's 6-10 inches depending on location.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#30 Post by Kim Z » January 31st, 2020, 1:46 pm

K*I*M Zussm@n

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#31 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 31st, 2020, 3:04 pm

Yesterday and today are beautifully sunny days (with some partial cloudiness) about 65-70 degrees. The ground is still wet - some vineyards along Silverado Trail are still filled with puddles. As Casey noted, the pattern of rain and then sun is pushing the cover crop between the vine rows. One might say it is like Spring....
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#32 Post by Emilio Castelli » January 31st, 2020, 3:12 pm

Started pruning on Monday (my favorite activity). Cane wounds are already bleeding; earlier than usual.
Great pruning weather.
E
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#33 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 31st, 2020, 7:03 pm

Emilio Castelli wrote:
January 31st, 2020, 3:12 pm
Started pruning on Monday (my favorite activity). Cane wounds are already bleeding; earlier than usual.
Great pruning weather.
E
Lots of the smaller/artisan vineyards have only recently started pruning as well. I'm not sure what percent we are from done but I'll guess 60%. Yes pruning wounds are bleeding which ratchets up my blood pressure. We need at least 15 more inches of rain, but hey we're not even in February. So I'm gonna mix myself and another 'chill con's and do a bunch of household projects and wait for the super bowl.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#34 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 2nd, 2020, 9:59 am

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday warm and calm. Got a bunch of chores done around the property: cleaned up a couple of flower beds, burned a couple of brush piles took the Zip for a good walk.
Woke up today to a chilly wind out of the north. Fine with me, let's keep those vines nice and sleepy! BYW Black oak trees around my house have swollen buds.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#35 Post by Paul Gordon » February 3rd, 2020, 10:22 am

After a warm Saturday, it turned cold and windy yesterday. Dipped below 28F at 9:30PM last night and still there as I type. Good tick killing weather and dissuades any ill advised early budbreak.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#36 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 3rd, 2020, 2:53 pm

It is very cold here in Calistoga, with a biting wind. But it is so clear out...it's a joy to look out the windows at Diamond Mountain. It looks like a painting.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#37 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 3rd, 2020, 5:02 pm

We had 27 degrees this morning which made me find imaginary paperwork to do so that I wasn't in the field like my men and women were at 7:30. No rain for the next 7 days. We still have a few burn piles to take care of. I like projects like that on cold mornings.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#38 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 6th, 2020, 5:48 am

Sure would like to see some rain but it is what it is. Mowing brush right behind the pruning crews (not mowing cover crop rows yet) and doing some weed spray too. The week ahead is dry so we put our head down and keep pruning.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#39 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 6th, 2020, 7:52 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 5:48 am
Sure would like to see some rain but it is what it is. Mowing brush right behind the pruning crews (not mowing cover crop rows yet) and doing some weed spray too. The week ahead is dry so we put our head down and keep pruning.
Casey, have you been able to find a spray for weed control that is organic? Sure would be cheaper than hand-digging weeds like I do here.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#40 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 6th, 2020, 11:46 am

No, but I'm sure a good PCA (pest control advisor) and Google can get you on your way.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#41 Post by Stewart Johnson » February 6th, 2020, 12:56 pm

[/quote]Casey, have you been able to find a spray for weed control that is organic? Sure would be cheaper than hand-digging weeds like I do here.
[/quote]

After hearing from quite a few people that Weed Slayer is a game changer for organic herbicide, I'm giving it a whirl this year. Wilbur Ellis is a North Bay supplier, but it was cheaper online from Arbico Organics in AZ. I'll be spraying it in the next week, and it supposedly takes quite a while to show results, but I'll report back eventually. It's significantly more expensive than Roundup, and I'm sort of expecting to need a second pass, but it still has to be cheaper than hoeing. My under-vine strips are on a side-slope in quite a bit of the vineyard, and I'm not anxious to disturb the soil there by either mechanical or manual means. That would leave weed-eating as the organic alternative if Weed Slayer doesn't turn out to be an answer.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#42 Post by Andrew Demaree » February 6th, 2020, 4:55 pm

Posting for Merrill:
2643FFBC-57E8-4355-AD71-3F85D6D7EF13.jpeg

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#43 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 6th, 2020, 7:13 pm

One day Merrill will be able to post a picture ALL by herself!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#44 Post by Tom DeBiase » February 6th, 2020, 7:24 pm

Stewart Johnson wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 12:56 pm
Casey, have you been able to find a spray for weed control that is organic? Sure would be cheaper than hand-digging weeds like I do here.
[/quote]

After hearing from quite a few people that Weed Slayer is a game changer for organic herbicide, I'm giving it a whirl this year. Wilbur Ellis is a North Bay supplier, but it was cheaper online from Arbico Organics in AZ. I'll be spraying it in the next week, and it supposedly takes quite a while to show results, but I'll report back eventually. It's significantly more expensive than Roundup, and I'm sort of expecting to need a second pass, but it still has to be cheaper than hoeing. My under-vine strips are on a side-slope in quite a bit of the vineyard, and I'm not anxious to disturb the soil there by either mechanical or manual means. That would leave weed-eating as the organic alternative if Weed Slayer doesn't turn out to be an answer.
[/quote]

This is interesting as Weed Slayer is derived from Eugenol which is about 80-90% of the active ingredient of clove oil. Worked with these ingredients and while not the most aromatic, Eugenol is pretty tenacious in its lasting power and flavor. It would not take much to add a decidedly spicy note to the wine :)

I'm not suggesting there will be carry over from the vineyard spraying but would be very careful having any in the winery that somehow could wind up in a bin or tank (thinking glove, clothes, instrument for testing, spillage, etc etc.

Tom

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#45 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 6th, 2020, 8:27 pm

Andrew Demaree wrote:
February 6th, 2020, 4:55 pm
Posting for Merrill:

2643FFBC-57E8-4355-AD71-3F85D6D7EF13.jpeg
Thanks, Andy. The cover crop is liking this string of sunny, warm days after all that rain. Obviously I have not pruned yet - maybe the end of the month. Hate to see all that green trampled by the pruners.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#46 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 7th, 2020, 11:22 am

IMG_20200207_111503451_HDR.jpg
Not what I wanted to see today!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#47 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 10th, 2020, 6:31 am

We had a huge windstorm, not quite as bad as the one that accompanied the Tubbs fire back in 17, but windy enough to bring back some terrifying memories. It has remained pretty warm during the daytime, and not a drop of rain in sight.

Lots of crews out pruning - it is good weather for it. Some vineyards still have standing water, so I think those will be waiting awhile.

The peach trees are budding, daffodils and narcissus are blooming, and it is a particularly good year for camellias. So it feels and looks like Spring, but no one is wishing for bud break on the vines.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#48 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 11th, 2020, 4:45 pm

Today it hit 80 degrees and the wind picked up again this morning. We need more moisture - it feels like fire season out there. Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely interlude, but only if it is just that. Hot and dry and windy.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#49 Post by Casey Hartlip » February 11th, 2020, 5:22 pm

I helped a buddy prune some head trained Carnginane (sp) yesterday and it was pretty warm out there. Today I was doing construction work on one of our worker houses and it was HOT! Obviously my blood hasn't thinned out to summer viscosity yet. After seeing that cracked bud last week I'm walking the vineyard with blinders on. We still have MANY acres yet to prune and we have the pedal e the metal. Starting to have meetings with customers now, which is great. I've already received great news from many positive reports from clients about their white wines.

I'll also plug one of my clients: Philips Hill Winery is getting g a 95 point score from Wine Enthusiast For their 2017 Day Ranch Pinot Noir. Very happy for Toby. The grape market will be a very big story as spring develops. More on that later.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#50 Post by Edward H. Earles » February 12th, 2020, 4:15 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
February 11th, 2020, 5:22 pm
The grape market will be a very big story as spring develops. More on that later.
There are lots of reports of a California grape glut in the wine press.

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