NAPA VALLEY , CA
Wine Down WWW. KELLYFAMI LYV INEYARDS . COM | 707 . 255 . 5688
SLEEPING BUT NOT STAGNANT Winter in the Vineyard
three separate occasions throughout the winter months, we sweep through our 10 acres of vineyards to examine our canes and determine which ones to cut back and which canes are fit to bud come springtime. They’re cut from 3–4 feet tall down to a mere 6–8 inches, and then again to a small nub so the vineyard might look barren to the untrained eye, but for us, this is when all its potential can be cultivated. It’s a delicate process that we don’t take lightly because it’s our opportunity to adequately prepare for the next growing season. The critical step of selecting and removing canes has a direct domino effect on how many buds will emerge come spring. Underpruning may lead to a canopy that doesn’t allow for enough sunlight or too many bunches of grapes and a reduction in quality. But overpruning means we’re prompting the vines to grow more leaves than fruit come spring, which isn’t an ideal result when you’re trying to make wine. For these reasons, we have a team of viniculture experts with decades of experience working in vineyards. They move through the vineyard every winter with an expert eye for pruning, cutting all the canes to a uniform length and then again leaving a very short cane that will bud this year’s crop. And it’s all done by hand so we can ensure the process gets the time and care it needs.
When you think of wine vineyards, you likely picture luscious green rows of leafy vines and big, bulging grapes as far as the eye can see. While this is the ideal picturesque scenario for any winemaker from bud break through harvest, or spring through fall, this fantasy landscape isn’t what you’ll see at Kelly Family Vineyards or any other vineyard during January, February, and March. Instead, you will see what looks like bare, dead sticks. But just because it looks like there isn’t much happening during our “sleepy” season, that doesn’t mean a lot of essential steps aren’t taking place both above and below ground. That’s because the process of making great wine never really sleeps. Any worthwhile winemaker will tell you that great wine is made in the vineyard, and this is entirely true. If you don’t have a healthy vineyard, your wine simply won’t turn out the way it should. Crafting great wine starts with the care you put into your vines, and this understanding allows us to bottle some of the best, award-winning cabernet sauvignon that the Napa Valley has to offer. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to prep the vineyard for the bud break that occurs in early spring, usually around early to mid-April. We begin by going through the vineyard and pruning, or cutting back, on the canes and cordons of the vines. On
Pruned vine ready for April bud break
WWW. KELLYFAMI LYV INEYARDS . COM | 1 Gene Kelly For most, winter means staying indoors and hunkering down for hibernation. But at Kelly Family Vineyards, it’s just the opposite. We take pride in working hard on our vineyard at every moment of the year, because we know that truly superb wine is crafted by the care you put in from the ground up. I know that you will experience it in every glass of KFV wine. friendly” and sustainable. We respect the land, and we are concerned about the soil for future generations. Knowing how to grow wine grapes means understanding what your plants are doing during each part of the year. In winter, the trunks and canes of the vine are barren and dormant above ground, but below the surface, each plant is meticulously directing energy to its roots. This gives them the ability to soak up the nutrients in the soil so they can stay strong and survive the winter months. For this reason, we take special care with our soil too, imbibing it with propriety nutrients fit for healthy vines. We farm in such a way that we are certified “fish-www.kellyfamilyvineyards.com
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