The grapes are beginning to show color -- what's called veraison. So far only a few percent of the berries have turned, but it's earlier than usual, even in these days of worrisome climate change/global warming, or whatever euphemism best fits the consequences of not taking sufficient care of our planet. The good news is, so far, the weather has been simply ideal for growing grapes in the Napa Valley. But for the past five or six years, it's the period from now to the first winter rains when all of the challenging cards have been dealt, so we're counting no chickens.
We're now fully organic and much of our vineyard surface is no-till, so besides managing the vines, we also have to manage the gopher population. As with most farming challenges, the best way to manage gophers is to let the natural world fall into balance. For us this means owls, which we always have; same with hawks; and there's always one carnivore. This year, it's a family of red foxes living in the woods within the fences surrounding the Brothers and Lost Orchard vineyards. We recently spied the mother playing with her three kits beside the Sunninghill Sauvignon Blanc block in the Lost Orchard. They appeared to be really well fed.