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Ross Halleck
February 12, 2014 | Ross Halleck

There went the drought :) So we hope.

This week's rain has partially eliminated fears of drought in California Wine Country and Halleck VIneyard. Enough rain fell in these past days to make up for the entire months of January and February.

Prior, everyone was asking about the drought and its effect on the grapes. The short answer is, "No damage." We hadn't pruned, so the vines still thought it was winter, despite sunshine and sustained warm temperatures. We would have normally pruned by now. Our concern was if the warm weather continued, the vines may have thought it spring and budded early.

The microscopic flowers that become grapes soon would follow.  If the rain ensued after bud break and flowering, we could have lost the crop to "shatter": the flowers are hit with water and can't polinate. If rain hadn't come at all, we were at risk of water shortage issues. In Sebastopol, we have plentiful wells from which we irrigate. So this still may not have been a problem in our little micro-region. But it was early for these concerns. As a farmer, I'm an optimist. 

While there is plenty of rain, the soil can only hold so much before saturation. The rest runs off into the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley water sheds and hits the ocean. So our cup is not full, despite the abundance of water, frogs, snow in the Sierras and chilling temperatures. We need sustained rain over the winter season to assure a strong crop for 2014.


Chuck Kent's Gravatar
Chuck Kent
@ Feb 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM
"As a farmer, I'm an optimist" How could you be other, and still call yourself a farmer? "...our cup is not full, despite the abundance..." Makes me wonder if you're speaking of your vineyard, or our country at large. Imagining you traipsing among the vines, I sense you covering much more ground than winemaking... but perhaps that is the draw of the work. I look forward to following along.

Ross Halleck's Gravatar
Ross Halleck
@ Feb 19, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Being a farmer connects me to forces much larger. This is true of all farmers. I call it "dancing with Gaia". She leads. There is nothing more humbling, nor more gratifying. It is certainly metaphysical as well as physical. There is work to do. When you pull the comment, "...our cup is not full, despite the abundance...", I had not considered its significance. I rarely view the world in as small a teacup as our country. This comment does not reflect, however, my current sentiments about life. My cup feels very full and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

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