Category - General,Cover Crop,Seasonal,Organic
Posted - 02/07/2013 04:20pm
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Winter in the Vineyard
Editor's note: This is the first in an occasional series documenting seasonal activities in the vineyard. Next up: Pruning.

The weather pattern finally changed today-much needed rain ending 6 week dry spell going back to 2012. It might seem obvious but we love the rain in the vineyards and not just because grapes need water to grow. In vineyard work, rain days are days to rest, time to catch up on office work or just catch up on naps on the couch.

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The farmers woke up to rainy weather and got to enjoy rolling over and going back to sleep almost as much as the cover crops are enjoying a cool, winter drenching. The vineyards might be dormant but at Sixteen 600 we are in the height of the growing season, soil growing. 

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Cover crop in the sun


Phil Coturri's grape growing philosophy starts with the soil and the roots. Phil's magic blend of seeds (bell beans, mustard and other brassica, clovers, a cereal grain like cayuse oats and other annuals) is spread after harvest every fall. These plants help the soil retain moisture, add nitrogen and nutrients to the soil and attract beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. A successful cover crop leads to a successful year in the vineyard, a year with lush soils, biodiversity and ecological balance- the road map to great wine. (Read more about Phil's cover crop philosophy here)

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Bell beans and oats


So while the cover crop (and the farmers) may have enjoyed basking in all that mid-winter sunshine, it was definitely time for some rain…and a nap.

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 Smokey approves of the cover crop



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