Winegrowing is all about the seasons. In early spring, after a winter’s rains, grapevines are born anew, their buds opening to generate the foliage that creates a vine’s vegetative ‘canopy’. A month later, tiny grape blossoms appear, setting the stage for the hard little berries that eventually will turn into flavorsome grapes and wine.
Summer’s warmth slowly ripen the grapes, while winemakers prepare their tanks, barrels, hoses and pumps for the onslaught of fruit that will deluge them between late August and late October, the all-important harvest season. By early autumn, fermentations are bubbling away, tanks are rapidly filled and emptied, and new wines are resting in barrels to attain the requisite amount of aging prior to bottling.
But what of winter? Well, just as bears and grapevines hibernate – for the vines, it’s known as winter dormancy – so do winemakers. There may be a secondary (malolactic) fermentation to monitor, some bottling of previous vintages to do, and a bunch of equipment to clean, but, by and large, winter is the quietest, most relaxed time of year in the vineyard (except for pruning, which usually begins in January) and the winery. That’s why winemakers typically take their annual vacations during the winter months, often flying off to tropical climates to rest, relax and recharge. Our very own Dave Crippen, Renwood winemaker for the past decade, will be jetting off to Florida for some R&R.
“Our family has a time share and we booked it in Orlando to visit Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center and Universal studios. It should be a hoot” says Dave. “There is plenty for us to do in the winery, winter notwithstanding, but we like to take the time when we can.”
We know that many of our customers also hunker down for winter (not the skiers or snowboarders, of course), but before you do, allow us to wish you and yours a Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you in 2013!