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.”
by Molly Moran Williams, NVG Industry & Community Relations Director
When thinking about vineyard work, most people will likely imagine the hustle of harvest; however, while harvest is exciting, it is merely the tail end of the work that goes into the full growing season. Pruning season requires highly-skilled hands and careful attention as it sets the stage for the growing season.
Pruning season marks the very beginning of the year in vineyard work, annually. Timing can differ by grape variety and is subject to weather patterns and winter rains. Pruning styles vary as well, from cane to spur pruning, and are supported by different training methods. Look closely at the vineyards as you drive along Highway 29, and you will see a range of farming practices being implemented to try and maximize quality, sustainability, and efficiency. In every vineyard, pruning sets the stage for success in the year to come.
Put simply, pruning requires incredible skill. Carefully pruned vines are sculpted by equally careful vineyard workers who employ years of experience and technical viticultural knowledge in each cut.
*Photo by Suzanne Becker Bronk
by NVG Staff
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) participated in a brand-new end of year giving program in December, distributing 250 Copperfield's Books gift cards to farmworkers and their families. The program was made possible by the Wells Fargo Foundation, long- time supporters of the FWF.
“The Wells Fargo Foundation is committed to supporting our community, especially during these difficult times. This grant is a small token of our appreciation for the essential role farmworkers have played in keeping our economy going,” said Denise Miles, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Social Impact & Sustainability. “We are proud to collaborate with the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation to do something special for the children of farmworkers.”
*Photo submitted by Renteria Vineyard Management