Hardly in like lamb! Spring arrived at Boxwood weeks early and like a stealing young lion sweeping across vineyard and hillside.
A seventy-five degree set of days in the middle of March can make one question those first childhood understandings of springtime; get it confused with summer.
Things start blooming and bursting and the planet seems as taken with the idea of the early onset of fine days as we humans. There is no explaining to a plant that it is not time to being anther years' renewal. Hope does spring eternal in every living thing.
But there are no guarantees and nature can be a fierce teacher with regard to the assumption that it has ended a season: Indian summers and for us now, the potential of springs' early appearance - which can tempt the human heart with false hope.
Boxwood's vineyard group needs to see through all this poetic nonsense, misplaced hopefulness, and promising ten-day weather forecasts: The earliest blooming work-horse varietals, the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, keep their kicker stalks intact while the others are pruned back now. They could become too full of encouragement themselves in the warmth of this early spring and leap to life. With the possibility of a killing frost still real, the kicker stalks can sustain frost damage, be pruned once the danger of hard frost passes, and allow the grape growing season to continue unabated. This is the insurance of a second birth of spring in a sense. But in a less romantic way; insurance that the livelihood varietals will produce regardless of frost after the initial bud break.
It makes for a great deal of priority shifting, this early spring; The vineyard group would have been bottling; instead they are pruning because the vines cannot wait. Much of what the vineyard staff does is planned loosely to the time of year and altered as the weather changes. This is not work for those who relish the reliability of strict dates and times.
The vines began to weep and the early season dash to the vineyard is on.
After a few days sixteen acres of vines were carefully reviewed and groomed; insurance policies all updated, and back to the winery they went to bottle the 2010 Trellis vintage, weather forecasts forever updating phones in the bottling room...