Late spring is when Napa goes into gear, with activity ratcheting up in the vineyard, the tasting room and out in the market.  Anthony and I just got back from our third trip out of state in as many months.  Oklahoma is familiar to Anthony, but brand new to me; fortunately I could get a big glimpse, starting with a couple days in Tulsa as well as the weekend OSU Wine Forum in Stillwater, followed by market visits in Oklahoma City.  And by the time we got back to the office, the Chardonnay buds had begun to pop—the start of the growing season!

We have had a few drizzles this spring, but our drought is now a daily presence in the news.  (Judging by the number of questions I got in OK, it seems it is in everyone’s news!)  Indications are this year’s winter rain weather pattern is over.  The governor has announced new restrictions and water has mysteriously gone missing from the Delta region, where a half dozen snow fed mountain rivers all end.  It all adds up to much more work to be done to protect the water we have and equitably balance the many interests of our state’s population.  We have no choice but to stay tuned.  On the other hand, Napa is lovely to visit now, sunny and warm ahead of the summer schedule.

Amid the new growth, the vineyard is showing some signs of stress, in the form of stunted growth.  No one yet knows for certain what this is a sign of, but it seems to end up killing the vine within two years.  Obviously, this is not good news.  But like everyone in farming, we’ll simply keep our fingers crossed and put in the new Clone 6 vineyard anyway.  Clearly, the vineyard is always going to be the center of our attention because it is where our entire business starts.  We hope we’ll have good news about this new problem soon.

Sandra, Anthony and everyone at Bell Wine Cellars