by Shea Swenson
When Mary Ann McGuire landed in Napa Valley as a 20-year-old in 1960, she felt a special connection to the area. “We saw it as a bountiful garden,” she says. “I felt this sense of power that came from the land…For me, it carried a spiritual imprint that a mother feels towards a child that you want to protect.”
For her rst few years in the Valley, McGuire, who had moved to the region with her new husband, cattle rancher George Gamble, saw no reason to act on that protective instinct.
But in the mid-60s, California entered an era of development. And as more agricultural acreage gave way to subdivisions and shopping centers, the grape growers, farmers, ranchers and residents of Napa County began to feel the pressure of what that development might mean for the region.
by Molly Moran Williams, NVG Industry & Community Relations Director
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) have been immensely grateful to work alongside an array of incredible community partners in serving the needs of Napa’s farm working community.
In this month’s Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ report, we would like to recognize the extraordinary volunteerism of Board Member, Karen Cakebread. She serves on both the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and St. Helena Hospital Foundation’s (SHHF) Boards and has been volunteering at SHHF’s vaccine clinic since it opened in February.
*Photo by Sarah Anne Risk
by Kristin Lowe, Ph.D, President, Vine Balance Consulting, Co-Chair, NVG's Member Services Committee
Spring is my favorite time of year in the vineyard. Sure, my days start a bit earlier, and I know that there are long, hot work hours ahead once the season hits full swing. But those aren’t my primary concerns on these crisp mornings in the vineyards, as I check the progress of pruning, wade through thigh-high mustard, and look for early signs of bud break. Instead, my thoughts turn to the possibilities of a healthy, high quality grape crop, and renewed hope in the year ahead.
For better or for worse, vines have memories. They remember everything they have gone through since they were planted. Were they trained well early on, so that now the trunks are nice and straight? Were they irrigated properly in their youth so their root systems could become fully established? Were they pruned correctly to balance their growth potential and crop load? Vineyard folks know the importance of history when it comes to their vineyards, and that every suite of decisions we make today builds on those made in the past.
*Photo by Emma K. Morris
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) is excited to announce a donation of over $60,000 in support of the St. Helena Hospital Foundation’s (SHHF) COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Donations were generously contributed through a matching grant program, with the FWF and an anonymous donor matching donations dollar-for-dollar.
The fundraising campaign’s success was made possible through the outpouring of monetary support from donors within the FWF and Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) communities. This donation follows an earlier $10,000 contribution when the vaccine clinic first opened, making the FWF’s total gift over $70,000 to-date.
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and St. Helena Hospital Foundation have partnered throughout the pandemic to prioritize the health and safety of essential farmworkers. In July, the FWF and NVG jointly funded the pilot program of SHHF’s mobile testing unit, which since then has successfully provided nearly 15,000 in-the-field COVID-19 tests for vineyard and winery workers.
*Photo by Sarah Anne Risk
Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) announces that bud break has begun in Napa Valley, marking the beginning of the winegrape growing season. “We’re seeing the first signs of bud swell on Pinot Noir in the Carneros AVA, with some buds pushing their first leaves this week” said Chris Hyde, General Manager at Hyde Vineyards and NVG member, “within the month, dependent on weather conditions, bud break will ramp up throughout our property.”
Bud break is close for vineyards north of Carneros, as well. “It’s a very exciting time in Napa Valley. While we’re seeing buds swell, we’re not quite to bud break,” said Justin Leigon, Viticulturist for Piña Vineyard Management, whose vineyards are located in the Oak Knoll District, Pope Valley, and Wooden Valley, to name a few, “the earlier varieties, like Sangiovese, are very close, and we’re about 3-4 weeks out for Cabernet Sauvignon.”