Greetings from Continuum Estate,
We have been blessed and grateful for the rains of January this year. Very different from this time last year! Wanted to share some of the latest happenings from our hilltop…
We hope the vines will continue to sleep through March following the last few years’ early awakenings. I have been catching up with Ryan, our Vineyard Manager, so as to share with you the latest.
At present, our team is working diligently to prune the vineyard. In fact, as of the second week of February, 12 blocks have been completed!
Continuum Estate is made up of 37 vineyard blocks planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The property in its entirety rests comfortably above the fog line though each block enjoys a slightly different soil makeup, aspect and elevation. Much of the vines’ vigor potential is determined based on its unique set of conditions. With each vintage, pruning is the first step we take in our efforts to balance the vines’ vigor potential. It sets the stage for the entire season and, if done with forethought, can also favorably position our vineyard for the vintage that follows.
More mature blocks such as block “M” and “CD” as well as those that are less susceptible to frost, like block “E”, are pruned first. Low lying swales in the vineyard where the cool air pools, such as block “RR”, “H” and “G” are likely to be pruned in early March. Doing so will delay bud break (sometimes up to 10 days) giving the vines within that block a better chance to mitigate potential frost damage.
It is incredibly important to us that we handle pruning internally. According to Ryan, “Good pruners prune with the intention to set the vine up for success this season. Great pruners, like those on our team, use their cumulative experience from past seasons to be able to make pruning decisions that will benefit the vine this year and next year. ”
Handling pruning internally also affords us the opportunity to be nimble around rain events though it does require some additional lead time. This is why we allocate a generous amount of time by beginning to prune in January.
Our team enjoys this time of year. To have a moment with each vine, surveil its skeletal structure, consider the conditions ahead, prune accordingly and be able to monitor the result is incredibly gratifying. “It’s a festive time,” says Ryan. “Pruning marks the beginning and our full attention is devoted to this incredibly important part of making an exceptional wine.”
We believe the character and nuance of our wine is directly tied to the complexity of this site. Taking the time to tend to the specific needs of each vine at every opportunity allows us honor the potential of this site and help it express the soul of this place year after year.
Thanks for following this early stage of the 2016 vintage with us!