Bloom in the Vineyard: Part Two
We normally don't associate grapevines and flowers. But grapevines flower, usually in the month of May, and it is during "bloom" that "set" takes place, and set ultimately determines the yield when harvest finally comes in the fall.
In last month's column, I wrote the "doom and gloom" scenario: poor weather conditions in the vineyards--cold, wet and windy conditions, thanks to El Nino, which could bode disaster by harvest with non-existant to poor yields.
Last week I ran into another veteran grower, Joe Carrari, over at the Los Alamos Market, and we talked more about flowering for an update for the June "Grapevine" column.
In a nutshell, Joe told me that it is still too early to give a good appraisal. He told me flowering has still not occurred in some vineyards, and that what we need is continued warm, sunny weather. For one thing, these conditions reduce the probability of mildew on the vines. But two things are certain for the 1998 vintage according to Joe Carrari: one, harvest will be later than normal; and two, yields will be down from the last two vintages.
And I would like to add that if yields are down, this may enhance overall quality of the grapes. Less is oftentimes better with crops and foods like premium wines and herbs.
The same day I ran into Joe, I ran into Lane Tanner. Lane told me the vineyards she buys grapes from are looking great--that in Bien Nacido Vineyard, for example, the pinot noir cluster counts are higher than normal, but down from last year.
And she concurred with Joe Carrari that harvest would be at least a month later than usual for 1998.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has broken ground on the new brewery in Buellton.
Richard Longoria Winery moved its tasting room to 2935 Grand Avenue in downtown Los Olivos. Hours are noon to 4:30 during the week, and 11-4:30 Friday through Sunday.
Santa Barbara County wine was featured on a recent segment of "California Heartland," a television show about California agriculture that airs on many public TV stations including KCET, Channel 28 in Los Angeles.
And our Santa Barbara wine country is featured in the current issue of "Buzz" magazine as a "don't miss" day trip from LA!
- Saturday, June 27, 3-7 p.m., Buttonwood Farm Winery presents its annual "Red, White and Blues Festival," featuring Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan, and Harmonica Fats with the Bernie Pearl Blues Band. Bring a picnic. $20 in advance; $24 at the gate. 688-3032.
- Saturday, July 4, Bedford Thompson Winery & Vineyard near Los Alamos presents an old fashioned July 4th picnic. Call for information. 344-2107.
- July 6-12, Big Doin's on the Central Coast and San Luis Obispo County as public radio station KCBX stages its annual Central Coast Wine Classic, a fund raiser for the public radio station which can be heard in Santa Barbara. For more information, call the station at 1-800-549-8855.
- Friday, July 10, 7:30 p.m., Gainey offers a concert in the vineyard with Stanley Jordan performing. Gates open at 5:30; bring a picnic. $28. Reservations required. 688-0558.
- Saturday, July 11, 7:30 p.m., Gainey presents the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the courtyard. Gates open at 5:30; bring a picnic. $33. Reservations required. 688-0558.
- Sunday, July 12, noon-2, Sunstone offers Summer Jazz & Jambalaya. $35. 688-9463.
- Friday, July 17, 7 p.m. "Pinot Noir & Mushroom Magic," featuring the great pinots of Santa Barbara County and California's Central Coast will be held at the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium. The affair will be catered by Chef Rick's of Santa Maria. $50. Reservations a must! 688-4409.
- Saturday, July 18, 4-8 p.m., the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association presents its "Wine Aficionado Summer Barbecue" at Rancho Los Alamos. For more information, call the SBCVA at 688-0881.
- Saturday, July 18, 5 p.m., Fess Parker Winery presents its annual summer pops concert with the Coastal Valleys Symphony performing Copeland, Hayman and Jack Mason. Picnic on the lawn; music starts at 6:30. $25. 922-7748.
- Saturday, July 18, 6:30 p.m., LinCourt Vineyards presents its annual "Twilight Dinner" with the winemaker, and catered by New West. $70. 688-8381.
Bob Senn writes The Independent's monthly wine column, "Grapevine," lives in the Los Alamos Valley and owns the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium.
Back to News Leads . . . .