Posted by: Thomson Vineyards | June 23, 2010

The Beat Goes On

Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. La de da de de, la de da de da.

All Farming @ThomsonVnyrds done by The Farmer

The war against HR 5034 continues to be waged against distributors and wine industry regulators.

Wine Bloggers are making their annual pilgrimage right now to the chosen land Walla Walla for the Wine Bloggers Conference.

Winery shake outs are occurring in Marin, Napa, and just about every other nook and cranny where wineries, virtual or not, establish themselves nowadays.

Wine celebrities like Gary V., the We Are Vintank Crew, and BParkerChuck continue to make a buck.

But you know what? All that aside, the beat goes on in the vineyards. And those drums pounding out rhythms take the form of equipment malfunctions, labor shortages, juice sucking moths known as “European Grapevine Moth” (or the fancy french name, “Lobesia botrana,”) and growers continue to manage both winemaker and winery expectations every step of the way through the season.

Since the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January of 2010, I’ve been stamping my feet (it’s in the Thomson DNA) insisting the industry recognize EVERY facet of the supply chain related to the delicious finished product we know and love: wine. Carving out a bit of recognition for the grower you might say. You know…the guy who gets up at 3 a.m. to spray insecticide for juice sucking moths, so his spray pattern doesn’t affect the neighbors? The guy who nods his head up and down and says, “yes…” when the winemaker says, “more hang time! Less water! No, wait! I want more hang time!” Or the winemaker who says as it’s raining in 2009, “I want to have my cake and eat it too, let it hang one more day!” Well, today I performed one of my infamous unscientific surveys and logged into WordPress, to find that one particularly interesting analytic had a big shiny gold star next to it. The analytic that told me Thomson Vineyards received a click through from the winebusiness.com featured blogs site.

This comes at a time, as I noted in a previous post, when I’m being contacted by a Los Angeles Disc Jockey for finished Chardonnay wine in return for free drive time air time and The Bold Italic is wondering if I’d like to be a wine sponsor for their exclusive food and wine party July 15 in San Francisco. Unfortunately The Farmer isn’t even available for a brief cameo because it’s the same night as @winetonite Ed Thrall’s Pinot Noir Smackdown July 15. Viva CN Pinot Noir!

Anyhow, earlier today I participated in a conference call to launch the KnowACaliforniaFarmer.com website, during which I concluded: 1) Out of the many featured blogs on winebusiness.com we at Thomson Vineyards are honored to be the first grower blog highlighted. And out of the some 70+ on the site we are one, just one. Yet wine grapes are the sole ingredient listed on the back label of every single bottle of wine out there 2) What does the first point, combined with the second, say about our industry? When DJs and Hipsters (READ: Consumers) either aren’t able to recognize the difference between grower and winemaker OR are so fascinated by The Farmer that they want The Farmer to sell them wine and finally 3) That my involvement in the KnowACaliforniaFarmer.com campaign does not stem from traditional channels. I didn’t not hear about it through our uber-expensive membership with the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association or the Napa County Farm Bureau. The Farmer and I were found by KnowACaliforniaFarmer.com campaign organizers via Twitter.

I'm a Grower Not a Blogger

So while all you pilgrims are off at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, the beat goes on in the vineyard; growing, producing, and tending the sole ingredient that you’re all writing about. The sole ingredient that, by the way, juice sucking moths are out to destroy; The Farmer is loosing sleep over 40 tons of Napa Carneros Chardonnay still left for sale; and Negociants are ringing me up on my mobile salivating at ridiculous price points per ton in 2010, yet again, because in their words, “there’s a lot of opportunity out there for the taking so let me just put my feelers out and see what I can take…”

Just what does the beat sound like this week? Besides La de da de de, la de da de da…

-There’s a labor shortage in Napa currently. The A team is solid, but the B team seems to have either gotten fed up with immigration legislation or otherwise and have gone MIA.

-The weather has jumped from winter to summer, all together skipping spring. This has caused berry set to happen in one week rather than the usual two and cane length and vine growth to be pushing feet rather than inches a day. But we’re still two weeks behind the “average” growing season.

-Vineyards are being leaf stripped and shoot thinned like crazy to keep up with all together skipping spring and we’re on the brink of bunch closure. But the labor shortage is preventing there from being enough crews to go around in the Valley to get ‘er done. Better hope the B team shows back up so you bloggers aren’t complaining about the “vegetative” taste in the 2010 wine vintage.

Napa Carneros Chardonnay Grapes For Sale

-And the juice sucking moth. Little bastards. The Napa County Agriculture Commissioner’s Office says now is the time! Apply the second dose of Intredpid at 16 oz/a or Altacor at 4.5 oz/a. But, do it when it’s not windy so you don’t affect your neighbors. And be sure to get complete spray coverage for these microscopic pests that you need a 100x magnifying telescope and x-ray vision to actually spot while driving the average and safe speed of 3 mph on the tractor. Oh and make sure if you used one product the first time, you use the other the second time, it confuses the male moths. Ha! Men.

**DISCLAIMER: FYI You can’t beat Mother Nature, Thomson Vineyards is on deck for a leaf stripping and shoot thinning crew this week, and we ARE NOT in the EGVM quarantine area but we’ve sprayed as a preventative measure both times, and I’m a grower not a blogger and prefer to keep it that way.**

Keep visiting and start commenting on the FIRST and ONLY grower blog on winebusiness.com. Then Follow The Farmer and Millennial Daughter on Twitter @ThomsonVyrds. We’ll tell you what’s going on in the vineyard! La de da de de, la de da de da…


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