Friday, February 22, 2019
Where the Mustard Grows
If you had to give February a color, which one would it be? Gray for rainy days? White for snow? Charcoal for stormy skies?
Here in wine country is has to be yellow. This is the month when the vineyards turn yellow - it's mustard season. It happens gradually, you almost don't notice it. And then suddenly one day you look around and the vineyards are a-glowing.
Doesn't it look almost like spring? Well... don't get me wrong, it sure is beautiful and you think it's warm and you can leave your comfy jacket at home, but then you turn around and you see this.
Sure, the snow doesn't reach down into the valley - and I'm grateful for this - but it does get cold. When we drove to one of my favorite wine valleys - the Dry Creek Valley where most of these photos were taken - we wore winter jackets and never stayed outside too long. Just long enough to take some pictures and capture this beautiful time. Otherwise - it's been freezing.
When the mustard starts to bloom the work in the vineyards also starts again. Everywhere we saw activity in vineyards, workers cutting back and trimming the vines, getting ready for the breaking of the buds in a few weeks. Other vineyards still lay dormant, but certainly not for long anymore. There is a lot of work to do.
The California Quails were busy, too. I'm sure they enjoyed the first warming rays of sunshine after the big storms we had. Some vineyards were completely flooded from the past heavy rains.
I love the patterns that the vines make. You can see in the image below that these vines are waiting to be trimmed and cut back so that we will get our next year's fill of delicious wine. Yes, it's a lot of work. Tending a vineyard is definitely not my idea of spending my time (but drinking the result certainly is!).
The mustard season doesn't last too long, but long enough to enjoy it for a few weeks. When it's over the buds will soon break and the cycle starts again.
I love the gnarled base of the vine against the fresh and luminous yellow of the delicate mustard flowers.
By the way, mustard doesn't grow in every vineyard. There are winter vineyards completely free of any mustard or only a sprinkle of them. They are beautiful as well.