The good news from the winery is that despite the interruptions, wine production is continuing as scheduled. The seasonal demands of our living vines and wines requires that we pay a fair amount of attention to them, so we couldn’t shut down completely. Yet much of our staff is able to work from home, and we are also staggering the crew’s time at the winery to ensure limited contact and allow for care of our families. In many ways, working with the wines and vines is a welcome diversion from the story that’s taken over our world!
Our team may physically be separated, but we are maintaining contact through modern channels such as email and video conferencing. Already, after only a couple weeks of remote work, our team is definitely looking forward to returning to a normal routine and putting this behind us.
Everyone at the winery and vineyard, as well as their families, are healthy as I write this. We are grateful for that, and we’ll continue to do our part to keep ourselves and our local community healthy!
SPRING IN THE VINEYARD
Bud break finally occurred at our estate vineyard on March 20. Although fairly close to the bud break dates in 2018 and 2019, it seemed as though the vines were reluctant to emerge this year. They respond primarily to soil temperature to cue their emergence, so it was likely due to the cold, dry nights we experienced throughout March.
Here’s a photo of several vines from one row of our Pommard clone Pinot Noir. These vines seem most eager to emerge each year, and I love their enthusiasm! The second photo is from an adjacent row, showing more typical level of growth in our Pinot Noir blocks.
Typical Pinot Noir Growth
As soon as bud break occurs, the need to protect the young shoots from killing frost becomes a critical focus. Here’s a photo taken early one morning last week, when the temperature dropped below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The ice building up on the vines actually protects, rather than causing damage to, the tender shoots and buds.
I detailed last month the preparations we had made to ensure the vineyard was ready for the start of the growing season. We completed all pruning and sprinkler maintenance prior to mid-March, and were ready when the cold nights arrived. Experience and detailed weather data help when determining how low the thermometer will go. Cloud cover, wind speed, dew point, and presence of cold layers of air near ground level all contribute to minimum temperatures.
Even though the temps only dropped below freezing on two nights, Alvaro, our devoted vineyard manager, was on site monitoring conditions nearly every night, ready to protect our tender vines.
One thing that we can all do, while sequestered in our homes, is catch up on our reading. At Ron Rubin Winery, we have a strong focus on education. Staying up to speed on industry trends and new technology is important, but we are also enthusiastic about the wine lifestyle. Here’s a book I recently read, that provides a great view into what makes wine such a unique, intriguing, and enjoyable drink!
Written by Aldo Sohm (perfect name for a sommelier, aka a “somm”!), the book continually reminds us as a reader not to be intimidated by wine, and to enjoy the journey and wonderful diversity it can offer. As the author states in one section, even certified Masters of Wine are continually exposed to new corners of the wine world!
Wine Simple introduces some technical ideas, but doesn’t focus on that aspect of wine. Aldo Sohm may be into the geeky wine rituals important to his field, but he makes it clear that the enjoyment is priority number one. He truly captures the fun side of wine.
Books like this one are an ideal diversion from the uncertain world around us, and a great resource as you plan your next virtual wine tasting with friends and family!
On behalf of the entire team at Ron Rubin Winery, we wish continued good health to all of you!