Can you say “apical dominance”?  While walking through the Chardonnay vineyard yesterday, Anthony and I noticed the first signs of the season’s beginning.  Vines have been pruned back to the wood, but the action is at the end of the cordon.  Buds at the tips of the young, slender wood have stalks of three inches, crowned with clusters of bright, yellow-green leaves protecting tightly curled new growth.  Nodes along the thick wood body have yet to pop, but the plant is responding vigorously to the pruning and protecting its ability to complete its life cycle by sending all energy to the un-pruned ends.  Without my glasses on, they look like humming birds on the plant tip.

In the winery, we are readying the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines for bottling.  Ice jackets are on the tanks and everyone is avoiding going in the cellar where temperatures, always chilly, are now plunging.  Several weeks of Siberia lie ahead as we cold stabilize the wine, making it possible for you to pop it in the refrigerator without acid crystals forming.

Next week, Anthony and I travel to Texas.  He’ll be working in Dallas, and pouring at Buon Vino in Plano on the evening of March 12th.  I’ll be calling on accounts in Houston, then on the 15th we zip over to Chino Hills in SoCal and join Chef James and Denise Kelly at Owens Bistro.  Should be a fabulous dinner – Chef is inventive and often incorporates current events in his over-the-top presentations.  Did I mention the food is pretty darn good too?  See you there!