Normally, the sign at the edge of our head-trained Mourvedre vineyard just outside our tasting room is to protect people from a twisted ankle, should they stray off the tarmac. Now, we're worried we might lose them in the cover crop!
The growth in the vineyard's green winter coat over the last month has been amazing to watch. Whether because of the three dry years which preceded this one, or because of the work we've been doing with soil fertility, or because of the year's relative warmth (or some combination) we've never seen a cover crop so lush. Another view, looking up the hill behind the winery that we call Mt. Mourvedre:
Everything is growing. Yes, the cover crops that we planted are growing fast, but we're seeing lots of native grasses and wildflowers, like the mustards you see below:
The yellow of the mustard isn't the only hue on display. We're also seeing our sweet peas flowering:
And this pretty purple wildflower that grows low to the ground:
And it is wet. Although it hasn't rained much since the 3.9" we received the first weekend of February, the soils are still loaded with moisture, as evidenced by the ubiquity of the water-loving plant miner's lettuce, which we barely saw the last two winters:
And, if you needed more evidence, either of the wet soils or of the hazards of trekking into the vineyard, check out my shoes after this morning's photography trip:
Now, our chief worry shifts to early budbreak. We've been reading about it from nearby regions, and were frightened to see photographic evidence of it getting nearer from our neighbors at Adelaida Cellars over the weekend. We're typically a few weeks behind Adelaida and the other less-frosty vineyards at the tops of the hills to the east of us, and are still in a window where a few frosty nights would likely give us a reprieve rather than damage. But barring a freeze, we're on track for an earlier budbreak than last year, when its mid-March arrival led me to write the blog Why we're dreading the 2014 frost season.
Fingers crossed, please, everyone.