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After a winter of rain, wind, and more storms than we’d like to remember, spring weather is teasing us a bit with our first sunshine-filled days in months! With the ground drying out and the vines starting to stir, budbreak could be just a few days away. This year, it will certainly seem a bit sweeter and more well-earned after the winter we’ve had. We’ll keep you all posted when the “big event” occurs!
One look out at our vineyards right now, and it would be easy to assume that it is a quiet time of year for the Bogle crew. Well, actually, nothing could be further from the truth!
Though the vines are lean and brown, devoid of the green lushness that will appear and flourish in less than a month, much is being done in the vineyards to prepare them for another growing season. Pruning actually started before the holidays, and continues with the final vines being trimmed just this month. The excitement for budbreak is palpable!
This is arguably the busiest season of the year in our winery, with the exception of crush, of course. Staff is inundated with the final work of blending all the red wines for bottling. The 2015 vintages have been barrel aging for the last year, and now have to be taken out of barrels, evaluated and blended together to make the finished wine that will be bottled in the next few weeks. Within the next 3 months, we expect to bottle new vintages of over 14 different wines!
At the same time, staff is evaluating the quality of the 2016 vintages, which were just harvested last fall. This includes over 250 separate blocks, tasted blind and rated by Bogle winemakers, enologists, the winegrowing team, as well as Bogle family members. Results are shared with our growers, with successes championed and needed improvements noted. This allows changes to be made for the upcoming growing season, and assures a fantastic 2017 harvest.
Though everyone seems busy this time of year, we welcome the start of another vintage year for the winery. Keep your eyes peeled for our new vintages out there…and know that a lot of hard work went into creating some great, quality wines for your dinner table!
Sustainable farming is a top priority for our family here at Bogle Vineyards. From the winery to the vineyard, we do our best to follow practices that ensure our farming and operation will be strong for generations to come.
All our estate vineyards follow the Lodi Rules for Sustainability, a third party program certified by Protected Harvest. Part of this program is enlisting mother nature to help in pest management in the vineyards. A drive to Clarksburg through our estate vines will show multiple raptor habitat boxes erected by Bogle vineyard crews.
“Falcons and hawks have been brought to the winery for natural pest abatement,” says Warren Bogle, president and vineyard manager. “We have built various owl boxes throughout each vineyard to ensure these birds mitigate rodent populations. Integrated pest management is utilized for all vineyards in accordance with the Lodi Rules for Sustainability.”
This time of year, most guests get lucky and see our aviary friends on their visits. Red-tailed hawks are the most common, and do a great job eradicating pests from the vineyards. With a steady diet of mice, voles, rats, squirrels and rabbits, these hawks are happy to make our vineyards home. And with our mild weather patterns, instead of migrating south, they spend the year hunting. They do give way, at least at night, to their nocturnal counterparts, great horned and barn owls. Sharing habitat and hunting territory, the owls and the hawks live side by side, easily managing the pests who make their homes in the vines.
New owl boxes have been erected for the spring, but vineyard crews left the old ones. With egg-filled nests, the old boxes won’t be removed until the young owls take wing and move to the new boxes. Until then, there are double the perches from which to get that bird’s eye view of the vineyards.
The photo above shows a gorgeous red-tailed hawk perched atop an old owl box overlooking Bogle vines.