January started with a bang! After three years of drought, the new year gave way to an onslaught of atmospheric rivers. The rains lasted for a twenty-three-day period starting December 26th and ending January 17th. The storms caused wide-scale flooding, mudslides, and many fallen trees which proved to be distressing and, in some cases, disastrous. The silver lining to all this is the dent that these storms put in our historic drought conditions across the state. The rain has certainly eased the minds of our grape growers in Sonoma County. The last three vintages were small in terms of yields which a lot of people are attributing that to the drought. These rains are recharging the parched vineyard soils and will give the vines the much-needed boost going into the new growing season. But even with thirty plus inches we’ve received so far, we are all crossing our fingers to get some more going into this month and March. Fortunately, it also has been cold which will keep the vines from awakening too early. With the rain and cold temperatures, I’m happy to report that we are on a good protectory for the 2023 season! In the Estate vineyard Alvaro, our Vineyard Manager has been busy with the pre-pruning. Pre-pruning is an important step, Alvaro has been trimming the vines down to a manageable length that allows the pruning crew to focus on the final pruning cut which is critical in setting up the vine for the rest of the season.
Alvaro, Vineyard Manager Pre-Pruning the Estate Vineyard
My team and I were excited to be able to attend the Unified Symposium this past month! In 1995 the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and the California Association of Winegrape Growers joined forces to create The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. It’s a trade show for the wine industry and has grown to be one of the largest in the nation. It takes place in January every year and is held at the Sacramento Convention Center. There are over six hundred and fifty vendors from all over the globe and the show is attended by over ten thousand visitors! Not only is there an exhibit hall for the vendors, but they also have a very well attended State of the Industry session where the speakers touch on everything from industry sales trends to global grape and wine supply. The highlight of this session for me was hearing one of our educators here at Ron Rubin Winery, Dr. Liz Thach, MW. Liz spoke on the future of the wine industry, she shared strategies that we must all adopt to keep wine relevant in the upcoming decades. On top of visiting several of our vendor partners and seeing a lot of friends we attended some great educational seminars as well. The one that I took the most away from was on Winemaking and Vineyard Manager Teams. This was a unique opportunity to listen to winemakers and vineyard managers talk about how important communication is between the two “departments”. I’ve always felt that as a winemaker, being in the vineyard year-round is a top priority. It was a lot of fun hearing how important that relationship is to create premium wines from several of my peers. We even had a chance to taste some of the wines that these collaborative teams created, and you could taste the quality in them. This quality comes from the dedication of both the winemakers and vineyard managers working together to achieve the best possible results in both the vineyard and the winery!
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium tasting and education session
On behalf of the entire team here at Ron Rubin Winery, we wish you all continued good health!