Photos are probably the most dramatic. In just a couple of days we've gone from:
And it's just the beginning. We've gotten nearly a half an inch this morning, and we're expecting storms on Tuesday, Friday, next Monday and next Thursday. Based on the forecast rainfall totals, we should see at least 5 inches of rain over the next couple of weeks, and maybe considerably more. And it couldn't be more welcome.
After a remarkably wet December, we've had one of the driest six-week mid-winter stretches on record. Our wet December weather pattern ended with 2.16 inches of rain on January 2nd. For the six-week period between January 3rd and February 13th, we received only 0.32 inches of rain. Still, we're at 17.5 inches total for the winter, which is about average for this time of year. But we'd be a lot happier to see another ten or so inches more before the end of spring, both for the long-term health of the vineyard and for our production in the 2011 vintage.
The recent sunny weather has been nice for our staff and good for our tasting room; our traffic was up 44% over the first six months of the year, which we all attribute primarily to the good weather given that during rainy December our tasting room traffic was off 9%. Still, we're getting toward the season where we worry about frost, and the good weather has pushed the local flora a couple of weeks ahead of normal. The almond trees around town are all blooming, and the fruit trees are starting to push. Sap is beginning to weep out of pruned grapevines, and we know that if the warm, sunny weather kept up we'd be at risk of seeing budbreak in March.
And given that it can frost into May here, that would not be good.
So, we're happy to see the rain return, and for the forecast for 10 days of alternating wet and sun, with frosty nights whenever the clouds clear. Bring it on!