“We spend a lot of time walking through the vineyards, paying attention to each block and managing the canopy and crop load to meet the vines’ needs,” she says.

This year’s she’s had the opportunity to do even more of that from owners who have given her the green light to boost vineyard performance.

“That’s fun,” Carol says. “I like being able to fine-tune the vines to see just how much we can get them to do for us and what the winemaker can do with the grapes.”

She’s encouraged by the preliminary results. “I like how quickly and evenly the grapes are going through veraison,” she says. “We’re far enough along to start picking up the individual flavors. We’ll find out how much of a difference we’ve made once the winemakers work their magic.”

In the meantime, the Laubachs are finishing up fruit thinning as they await the start of harvest.  So far, her labor contractor hasn’t reported any problems getting the crews needed to pick the grapes, Carol notes. Ideally, the Sierra Foothills harvest won’t coincide with that in the San Joaquin Valley. “It’s always tough getting crews when both areas are harvesting at the same time,” Carol explains. “But, usually, our grapes are ready later and workers can move from the Valley to us and it works out pretty well. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”


If you would like to read more about California grape growing, subscribe to GrapeLine, the exclusive electronic newsletter sponsored twice a month by Chemtura: See here for sign-up. It’s free and e-mailed the second and fourth weeks of each month from March through October.


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