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Spring in Armaa.N vineyard

LXV Armaan Vineyard Willow Creek Paso Robles

The our Paso Robles vineyard is waking up!

Burst of color, hummm of bees, emergence of new buds, and loads of anticipation. 

The Armaa.N vineyard is waking up not only to the warmth of the sun but also to various activities. We pruned the vineyard in mid-march. By the beginning of this spring season, the vineyard looked like a painting by Monet. The cover crops were in full bloom. Bees were buzzing! We witnessed bud break slowly occurring throughout the Armaa.N Vineyard. 

Since then, the cover crop has been tilled back into the soil, the growth under the vines hand hoed (since we do not use any chemical weed management) and the vines pruned back. We have dodged a couple of nights of frost. Now we brace ourselves for the full onset of bud break, inflorescence, and bloom.

Mid-March: Pruning & Training

Pruning commenced in the middle of March. Pruning early spring before leaves appear puts the least stress on the plant. 

Pruning helps to control the amount of fruit we will get per vine and helps maintain form as well as creates an equal distribution of wood over grape vine. Each block we prune to a method that will  be most beneficial to the grape variety of the block. For our Cabernet Blocks, we used Cane Pruning. The fruit will hang nicely and will individually get the perfect amount of sunlight. This method also helps the fruit ripen at a pleasant speed, while keeping the pyrazones (green bell pepper notes) at a decent level. 

Pruning at LXV Armaa.N Paso Robles Vineyard

For the rest of the vineyard we chose to use VSP (Vertical Shoot Position), Cordon and Double Cordon. Cabernet Franc tends to do well with this style of training/pruning, so our block of it should be happy! Even though we have a designated style of training and pruning for each block, we will be able to switch it up in the years to come depending on how the vines do – not everything is permanent!

Bud Break in April at LXV Paso Robles Vineyard

Beginning of April: Budbreak

Our vines are waking up! We have seen bud break happen slowly throughout the Armaa.N Vineyard. This is a vulnerable time for these delicate buds. We watch the temperature dips with prayers that the April frost will not cause any damage – so far so good!

Middle of April: Cover Crop Management

Cover crops were used to increase soil fertility and soil quality; to manage soil erosion; improve water retention; manage weeds, pests, and diseases; and to increase biodiversity and native wildlife. You should have heard the bees merrily buzzing through the vineyard!

The biomass left over after being mowed was incorporated into the soil. The growth underneath each of the vines was hand hoed since we diligently follow regenerative farming practices and do not introduce any chemical management in the vineyard. 

Soon, we will be applying some nutrient programs, organic fertilizer and compost tea to Armaa.N to keep the soil and vines healthy throughout the upcoming season. We also have some replants  coming in across some of the blocks (Don’t worry! Our vineyard is fine. It’s totally normal for some vines to not survive during this stage 🙂 ). 

Mowed Cover Crop at Armaan Paso Robles Vineyard
Kunal getting at the Cover Crop

Cover Crop Spotlight – Daikon Radish

Leave it to Kunal to go foraging through the cover-crop! We planted a cover crop seed blend that contains Daikon Radish. The deep taproot of the large rooted plant can help break up the tough, compacted soil, improve water infiltration, suppress weeds, eliminate pests and store nitrogen. 

The cover crop is not only beneficial for our vineyard, but they also go on our dinner table! Mustard greens and flowers make a ravishing addition to pasta, salads, and pizzas. Daikon is used to stuff parathas, sliced into salads, fermented for kimchi, or as kunal will have it – seasoned with simply lime android chili and eaten while playing with the dogs.

Mother nature’s intelligence is profound.

She understands that all creation needs to charge, perform, rest, charge… She embodies these cycles for us in her circadian rhythms, in the phases of the moon, and in her seasons. We simply have to pick up the cues. – Neeta Mittal

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