After beautiful December rains, we had a winter drought in January and February, but our forecast for the middle of March looks good. We should be finished pruning by then - one of the more important jobs that we do.
It is already February and all of the Italian variety vines have been pruned except Nebbiolo. We prune the Nebbiolo last because it breaks bud and comes out early and is very susceptible to frost. Late pruning delays the bud push.
This will be the 50th year since I planted my first vine in Santa Barbara County. Growing grapes hasn’t changed too much since then but each year’s experience has added to a better understanding of the needs of each region. Weather, soil, and care still dictates what kind of grapes we grow, and ultimately what kind of wine we make.