Tannat: the Perfect Grape for Paso Robles?
Tasting the Wines in the Spring 2012 VINsider Club Shipment

Photo Essay - Winter in the Vineyard

I love this time of year.  With the winter's rain, everything is deep green in the vineyard.  The days when it's not raining (which is most of the time) the sun is bright and the air crystal clear.  The sun angle is low, which lends a great hue to everything and lights the occasional clouds into wonderful sunsets.  I've found myself wandering out into the vineyard each afternoon this week.  These are some of my favorite shots.  First,a look south across Tablas Creek to the new property we just purchased.  Not going to be easy to farm on those hillsides!


The cover crop is ridiculously lush and green right now, with the rain last month and the warm, sunny days we've had for the past two weeks.  It makes for a nice contrast with the dark brown of the dormant vines:


We've begun pruning, and while most of the vineyard is still shaggy, a few blocks (like the Roussanne below) have received their winter haircuts.  The vines in a pile are being collected by NovaVine to graft into new grapevines for other California vineyards to plant.


The diagonal flows of the hills make for dramatic backdrops with only their tops illuminated by the sun:


And again:


The local raptors always like the winter, when the rodent population is more exposed.  I had the owl that's living in the box below kick an owl pellet (mostly regurgitated bones and fur) at me when I got too close.  The blue of the sky is typical of Paso Robles this time of year:


The contours of the land are also highlighted in winter.  Looking down through our old Grenache block, over our straw-bale barn and toward the Roussanne and Grenache Blanc behind:


The winter sun brings out the honey color of the local limestone.  Below, the rock and recycled material animal barn we built this winter:


Finally, a sunset I caught, shining through an olive tree:


If you haven't made it a point to come out to Paso Robles in the winter season, you're missing out.  Let this be your excuse.