Season Update

As we head toward spring, March 1st has become a benchmark for me to see where we are settling in for our rain fall totals here at the winery. January and February tend to be our heaviest rain months here in Sonoma County and if we haven’t yet hit our 36-inch average then we start running out of time. The rainy season tends to run from mid- October to the end of March. Ideally, the rain is spread out between these five months but that is rarely how things work out. This season has been no exception! We had a slow start to the season through October and November with just a few inches going into December. Everyone was starting to get nervous that it was going to be another dry year, but we ended up having our first big storm in mid-December and another one just after Christmas. We ended up with a respectable 10 inches going into January which ended up being even more rainy than December. January’s total was just over 12 inches. I’m incredibly happy to report that February was a rainy month as well and our total ‘year to date’ is 37.37 inches! This puts us over last year by 3 inches at this time. We were fortunate this season that the rain was spread out enough to not cause extensive flooding in our area. We saw some localized flooding in low lying areas, but the Russian River never reached flood stage. Unfortunately, we haven’t come through the storm season completely unscathed. On the 5th of February the area received over 5 inches of rain with winds up to 95 miles per hour! Hurricane force winds are not typical for us, and they caused widespread damage. Countless trees went down, taking power lines down with them. About 50,000 homes were without electricity for over two days. It was certainly the most impactful storm of the season and kept the local emergency responders very busy!

Ron Rubin Estate VineyardThis is an intersection very close to the winery, this was a common scene all around Sonoma County

As we get into March, bud break seems to be on a typical timeframe. We’re expecting to see it in the next 2-3 weeks. On the dry days, Alvaro has been busy pre-pruning the vineyard. We purchased a new tool to help relieve some of the strain from making thousands of cuts with the old-style pruning shears. They are battery powered electric shears that are truly a game changer for him in the vineyard! It’s amazing to see how far technology has come just in the past few years. I’m sure these types of tools will get lighter and more powerful as time goes on.

Ron Rubin Estate Vineyard This tool makes pruning go a lot faster and its much easier on the arm muscles!

One last thing worth noting about this past month is Ron and the team were awarded the prestigious “Sustainable Producer of the Year” award from the Sonoma County Winegrowers! I’d like to share some kind words from them regarding the award.

“Ron and the team at River Road Family Vineyards and Winery have a holistic approach to winegrowing which includes placing owl boxes around vineyards for pest management, planting cover crops to cultivate nutrient rich soil, conservation tillage, utilizing drought tolerant insect friendly landscape, water use monitoring to ensure water conservation, and solar energy. River Road Family Vineyards and Winery is a certified B Corp, which is a designation given to businesses who meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.”

Ron Rubin Estate Vineyard
Members of the team proudly displaying the Sustainable Producer of the Year award!

I’m proud of all the hard work the team has done to be extremely deserving of such a great accomplishment! On behalf of the entire team here at River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, we wish you all continued good health!

Be Well,