The Crush - May 2020 - 9

Davindar Mahil
CAWG Vice Chair
Creekside Farming,
Madera faced a dry winter that
led into a relatively wet spring.
We've started applying sulfur
applications to most of our
vineyards. Mildew pressure that
we've seen has been light, but
we are staying on our program
of ground rig application every week religiously to prevent
any flare ups. We are seeing vines starting to push, with bloom
already taking place in our chardonnay. We are focusing on water
and fertilizer now, in anticipation of the high temperatures that
are to come in the next few weeks.
It is still too early to tell the impact COVID-19 will have on our
winegrape sales. We have been pushing forward and taking
necessary steps to ensure that our vineyard and office employees
are trained properly and provided with the necessary safety and
sanitation tools needed. Acquiring additional personal protective
equipment for our employees through our normal channels has
proved to be challenging and far costlier.
-Submitted May 4

Jeff Bitter
CAWG Secretary
Grower, Madera
This year has been anything
but normal on a number of
levels. It all started with the
Unified Symposium being in a
new location and a week later
than usual. That's how most of
us in the wine industry gauge
the beginning of our year and
calibrate ourselves for what's to come. I'm not blaming the
Unified Symposium for the coronavirus, but it seems nothing in
life has been predictable since the change of that time and place!
The wine industry is normally stable, and even when things do
change, it's more like a freight ship changing direction rather
than a hummingbird. But the coronavirus has educated us all
that one "event" can have substantial and immediate impacts on
an industry. While we are all still trying to digest the offsetting
effects of increased off-premise wine sales and decreased on-

premise wine sales, there are many already looking to the future
to try and understand just how lasting some of these changes
might become. Has the wine industry been forced to change
direction like a hummingbird?
One thing that doesn't change is the seasonality of vines. Now in
early May, we are in the final stages of bunch counts and will be
entering bloom season soon. What we can say at this point is that
there's no evidence of a bumper crop out there, and the vineyard
removal equipment continues to operate statewide. This will be
the largest vineyard removal year in quite some time, but then
again, we all knew it was necessary to work toward market
balance. It's too bad we can't control demand (or the factors
affecting it) to the same degree we can control supply.
-Submitted May 4

Gregg Hibbits
CAWG Treasurer
Mesa Vineyard
The spring certainly got off to
an unusual and unprecedented
start on the Central Coast.
Onset of restrictions related to
COVID-19 coincided with a
very wet month of March and
early April, leading to a slow period in the vineyards as people
adjusted to new regulations. Regulations are changing on a
seemingly daily basis currently, providing significant challenges
to agricultural businesses to stay in compliance.
On the vineyard operations side, we had some cold mornings
with frost systems running in earlier bud break areas and
varieties. None of these events caused any significant damage.
Weather has recently turned warm and dry. Vines are growing
vigorously at this time with more warm weather on the horizon.
We are beginning shoot thinning in all varieties in the next
couple weeks. It is too early to assess crop size, but vines seem to
be healthy.
To date, vineyard labor has been sufficient, but we expect a
big push over the next two months and have no historical
perspective for how things will play out. Vineyard removal
has been a consistent theme during the winter and early spring
period. At this stage, it appears most of these acres will not be
replanted to vineyards.
-Submitted April 30

MAY 2020 / 9


The Crush - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush - May 2020

The Crush - May 2020 - 1
The Crush - May 2020 - 2
The Crush - May 2020 - 3
The Crush - May 2020 - 4
The Crush - May 2020 - 5
The Crush - May 2020 - 6
The Crush - May 2020 - 7
The Crush - May 2020 - 8
The Crush - May 2020 - 9
The Crush - May 2020 - 10
The Crush - May 2020 - 11
The Crush - May 2020 - 12