Vineyard: Bud Break

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Bare lines of vines, a coo of a pigeon in the distance, and the crackling of footsteps as a vineyard manager passes through the rows in the morning light. He has done this many mornings, but his steps stop as he notices something different. There it is…light green, soft, even a little fuzzy…it is a bud.

Each year we eagerly wait for bud break to occur. This is when the vines push open leaves much like other plants during the spring. Dormant vines awake when daylight and temperatures increase, which encourages the vines to pull up stored water and macro-nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) from the roots to the limbs. This up-flow of water and nutrients push open the buds. You would think that after leaves push open that it would mean photosynthesis would occur immediately, but it does not. It takes the vine a little bit of time, leaves the size of about silver dollars, before that process begins.

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One of the most important parts of bud break is that it is a measurable starting point for the vineyard. We can actually start the clock for when pivotal moments will occur. For instance, we now know we are about 150 to 200 days away from harvest depending on the grape variety. It seems like this then would mean that bud break itself is actually a markable date, but it’s not that simple. This is still farming, which means everything is variable. When bud break occurs depends on a few things. Each terroir is different. And you can probably guess, each variety of is different.

A cooler terroir means that bud break will be later, while a warm terroir like in Paso Robles, CA will have an earlier bud break. In Paso Robles, we have seen buds as early as February. Although for us this year (2018) we are running a little slower as we have had a cooler spring. Each year is different! Another factor is micro-terroir. The difference between locations of vines in a single vineyard will even come into play. A hillside vine will have bud break because of its elevation, but a lower valley vine will still be dormant. Lastly, varieties will have bud break at different times. In our Adelaida Vineyard, our  Malbec and Cabernet Franc had bud break first, but the Cabernet Sauvignon hit the snooze button. As you can see, there are many variables that go into this and this is just one part of the vine cycle!

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While there are variances in the cycle, one consistent thing is temperature. Vines are very dependent and particular about temperature. Vines prefer gradual temperature increases for bud break, but they don’t always get that. Sometimes they get awoken from slumber with a warming trend and then hit with a freeze. That is why vineyards have tall fans to help with frost protection. A freeze will damage the cellular tissue in the leaves and the leaves will then turn black. It’s awful. This then kills the growth for your year and can sometimes decimate a vineyard. Bud break is basically the infancy stage of the vine. You want to protect it because the leaves are soft and fragile at this stage, much like you would with a newborn (and well, we all know parenting doesn’t stop there). So, that is the one thing all farmers can count on is frost season and the need to be vigilant.

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We have a mobile, quieter fan it’s so cool. Contact us if interested.

After bud break, we now watch as the leaves begin to grow (obviously). Photosynthesis will begin at a certain point and once that happens the shoots of the vines will really take off as the vines will receive something that they love, much like humans, carbs! Up next is flowering, so stay tuned.

Happy Friday and hopefully this gave you something to think about while you sip your wine…cheers!

-Cecily

Serving Wine

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Happy Friday!

The seasons have surely changed here in Paso Robles with cloudy skies, showers, and autumn leaves. It’s definitely gotten chillier. With the drop in temperatures, it brings up what temperature is recommended to store and serve wine at? We get this question quite a bit in the tasting room, so with Thanksgiving just around the corner it makes sense to serve up some tips in preparation. I’m sure there have been moments of “How to serve Cabernet Sauvignon” when planning for the holidays, well at least this girl has.

Our PFV Wine List:

Sauvignon Blanc: 45˚-50˚ F for serving

Chardonnay & Viognier Blend: 50˚-55˚ F for serving

Rosé: 45˚-50˚ F for serving

Zinfandel (cool grape,lighter style): 55˚- 60˚ F for serving

Petite Sirah: 60˚- 65˚ F for serving

Cabernet & Petite Sirah Blend: 60˚- 65˚ F for serving

Cabernet Sauvignon: 60˚- 65˚ F for serving

Of course some prefer 40˚F white wine, or 70˚F red wine, and that’s totally fine. It reminds me of Blast From the Past with Christopher Walken’s character preferring Dr. Pepper warm, while most of the public prefer cold. Everyone has his or her preferences and that’s what makes wine like art, it’s subjective.

Wine Storage

For wine storage, the recommendation for long term storage is 55˚F. If you do not have a wine fridge (understandable), I generally recommend a regular fridge over a dark closet because wine ages 4 times faster in those conditions. What does this mean? It means that it will loose structure, color, and could possibly develop faults. I just wouldn’t plan on long term storage in a regular fridge.

Hopefully this information was helpful. We hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with warmth, love, and memories. I feel so thankful to have my family, good food & wine, and a home as I know that not everyone has these things. If you are looking for a way to give this season, we work with Must! Charities and Paso Robles has a free meal at the Centennial Park on Nov 23rd that needs support. And lastly, there is a wonderful wine event to continue the support of Santa Rosa/Napa/Sonoma in December!

Cheers & Blessings,

Cecily

 

Foodie Friday: Rosé & Berry Quinoa Salad

Hi all!

It’s almost the weekend and it is going to be a hot one here in Paso Robles! This calls for a crisp wine and light, refreshing dishes. First thing that comes to mind is our newest release, the 2016 Rosé. This Estate Grenache was stomped after harvest. Yes, like I Love Lucy, but with clean rubber boots and probably less hilarity…well, maybe not, I found it pretty funny. Anyways, this light, pastel pink wine has a nose of rose petals and a refreshing palate of strawberries, hibiscus, citrus, and a little bit of minerality. This could be enjoyed on its own, but if you are like me, we love food pairings, so what to pair with this wine?

A quick, fresh, and light Berry Quinoa Salad. The berries are in peak season right now, so it is the perfect time to showcase them. I love eating straight berries, but I think we all know that they are delicious on a salad as it’s a great contrast…vegetal meets sweet. The quinoa and candied pecans add some depth with earthy, nutty flavors. Then the vinaigrette picks it all up with a little zip and herbaceous notes. This is a beautiful and simple compliment to the wine. AND by the way, healthy with great antioxidants.

What would you pair with a lovely Rosé?

Cheers to your weekend and happy Friday!

-Cecily

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Berry Quinoa Salad
2 cups Mixed Greens
Hand full of Blueberries
¼ cup Sliced Raspberries
4 Sliced Strawberries
½ cup of Quinoa
Sprinkled Candied Pecans
Mango Basil Vinaigrette
(optional) Parsley Buds
(optional) Chèvre


Quick Candied Pecans
1 cup Pecans
1 tablespoon of Agave Syrup
¼ teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
Two pinches of Sea Salt (or to your taste)

Heat a saucepan, sprayed with cooking spray of choice, over medium heat. Add pecans, agave, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir consistently making sure the pecans are covered and don’t burn. It will take about 5 minutes for them to reach perfection. Watch towards the end not to burn the pecans because it can happen fast.


Mango Basil Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons of Basil Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Mango Balsamic
Optional salt & pepper.
Can’t find Mango Balsamic, try a Champagne Orange Vinegar.



Pantry Links

Pasolivo Basil Olive Oil

Mango Balsamic

Champagne Mimosa Vinegar

Fully Cooked Organic Quinoa

Candied Pecans

Chevre

Talley Farms Fresh Harvest CSA