Ka-Bloom! April showers bring May flowers, including Chardonnay blossoms opening up this week.
May can be a mixed bag when it comes to weather. Frost season officially continues through the end of the month, but so far, this has been one of the warmest and driest springs we’ve ever had. Vineyard manager Mike Neal mentioned to Anthony that some vineyards have already started to irrigate in order to keep moisture around the tender surface roots. Surface hydration is important this time of year and there is none to be had. Rain, mist might be the better term, last occurred on April 7th and less than a tenth of an inch fell. Thankfully, our vineyard is doing just fine, with our heavy clay soil trapping moisture for months; our roots simply have to grow down for the moisture they need. Chardonnay canes are several feet long and Merlot flower clusters are as big as my hand.
We bottled several of our wines with the help of the mobile bottling line two weeks ago. For the first time at Bell, two white wines, Pinot gris and Sauvignon blanc were bottled with the Stelvin screw cap that has gained in popularity. Have you ever seen 200 cases of wine an hour flow off the roller track and onto a pallet? Although we’ve been using them for several years now, it always impresses me how quickly a year’s work can be boxed up in days, and moved off to the warehouse. The winery is now back to almost warm, following weeks of cold stabilizing, and guests rather enjoy not having to huddle under the heaters. Michael and Rafael are sorting through the used barrels, discarding some and sulphuring the ones we’ll keep for another use this fall. Next bottling will be the big red run in June, in preparation for harvest.
Anthony has been on the road for much of the last three months and I’m pleased to have him home for a week before another series of trips begins. Business is fairly good out in the wide wine world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Anthony is always out there making sure it stays good, but it’s nice to see some confidence again. Here at the winery, we’ll bring the fun home with a pick-up party on Sunday, May19th. Chef Don Garrett will cooking up deliciousness and teaching the brave how to toss a floppy disc of dough, producing the familiar base all pizzas start with. Then it’s on to the toppings! Please call the winery for info at 707-944-1673.
From Anthony, Sandra, and all of us here at Bell Wine Cellars
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