Each year we get to experience a cheerful sign of spring as mustard covers the vineyards with happy yellow flowers. Then, as the mustard blossoms fade we see signs of bud break on the vines.
Ever wonder why there are row after row, vineyard after vineyard of flowering mustard plants?
Mustard is one of the “volunteer” plants that grow as part of the winter cover crop that vineyard owners plant to help prevent soil erosion. Later in the spring, the winter cover crop is cut and tilled into the soil, providing nutrition to the vines. The Sonoma County Winegrowers’ goal is to have every vineyard in the county 100% sustainable by 2019. Cover crops are just one aspect of the complex process of making and keeping a vineyard sustainable.
Those of us who live along the Wine Road enjoy the beauty of the yellow blossoms gracing the landscape very spring and invite you to come see them as well. Or, if you can’t come by for a few weeks, you’ll get to see the next exciting phase of vineyard life—bud break!
Bud break is when the vines awaken and new life pushes out. Tiny buds on the vine start to swell and eventually shoots begin to burst from the buds. Bud break indicates the end of the vines’ dormancy during the winter, the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new growing season.
The vineyards are always beautiful, even in the rainy months of winter and early spring. Wine tasting happens year round, so don’t miss this special time of year when the signs of spring are everywhere along the Wine Road.
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