Bud Break

Spring on Sunshine Mesa — 2024 Edition

Spring enlivens the soul. There is something magical about witnessing brown give way to green. Of the landscape awakening. Warmer and longer days. Breezes that don’t chill you to the bone. There is no truer expression of spring than grape vine bud break. 

CO’s Wine Growing Regions – Climate Comparisons

Have you ever wondered how the climates of Colorado’s AVAs stack up with other well-known wine-growing regions in the U.S., if not the world? I have. Yes, you can talk with knowledgeable Colorado wine folks, read a few books, and dabble with general descriptions and illustrations online. 

Winter vineyard

November & December – 2023 Lessons Learned

I have a Doctorate from the University of Hard Knocks. You read up on new subject matter and spend time learning from those more knowledgeable than you. But the wealth of information means little—oh sure, you can do well conversing about the topic at cocktail parties—till you are knocked around attempting new things yourself.

October 2023 – Harvest

Fall was upon us, and with it the harvest. Summer hadn’t completely loosened its grip. Temps were mild but unfortunately, the Yellow Jackets originating in August still ruled the roost. While I harvested a small amount of my Pinot Noir in September, the Riesling and the valley’s bounty was yet to come. And come it did.

September 2023 – Water

The month of August ended with a Yellow Jacket apocalypse but September began with hope. The vines were doing great and summer’s heat had waned. Was harvest on the horizon? Did the viticultural gods still have a few tricks to play? Answers to both were not far off.

Pinot Noir Veraison

August 2023 – the Apocalypse

Unbeknownst to me as August broke, metaphoric storm clouds were gathering. In that blissful state of ignorance, we left July’s Chronicle questioning whether veraison (the last stage of grape ripening when the berries turn color) was in play for the Pinot Noir.

July 2023

Vineyard tending took a few days off in early July due to a long Independence Day weekend and family visits. Covered in June’s Chronicles, the previous month was filled with keeping vines pruned and growing vertically, and remaining abreast of insects and critters determined to ruin my day.

June 2023

Not unlike two weeks in May when away from the vineyard due to grandparenting duties, we were also away the first three weeks of June visiting family in New England, and tending to out-of-town needs. Leaving my three-year-old tilled and pruned vineyard we came back to overgrown vines with weeds taking over.

May 2023

May is an exceedingly busy month in the vineyard. You must tend to new growth with vine trellis guiding and pruning, and also prepare for future year vineyard growth with supplemental planting to fill row gaps. Continued weeding is essential, along with beginning a spraying program to control powdery mildew and small critters.

April 2023

With winter beginning to loosen its grip, I had several items in store for April. All were important in getting everything ready for the growing season but paramount, was adding four new irrigation zones to the vineyard. Also in store, pruning, tightening up trellis wire, and hoeing weeds as they emerged.

January – March 2023

2022 proved an excellent growing season for second-year vines on Sunshine Mesa. Riesling was the most vigorous, Pinot Noir did well but in a slower less bodacious manner. With the first freeze in late October, the season was officially over. After the successful second season, my anticipation and excitement were high for what lay in store!

1st Year Vineyard – Part I

I’m a life-long DIY’er. It comes from a long family heritage beginning with my grandfather, who was a hard-scrabble farmer in NE Texas. And my dad, who as a teenager plowed cotton fields behind a mule and as a father, planted a front yard vegetable garden before it was vogue.

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