Summer Solstice Reflections June 19, 2019 13:00
This is a special day.
On this longest day, sunrise is 5:45am. But by 5:15am twilight is enough to see things. Dragging this body out of bed early is not my greatest pleasure. But once up and moving around in the vineyard magic begins. Bobcats and coyotes use the last minutes before dawn to get back to their lairs. The air smells so cool and fresh that is has substance. Crows and Jays have not started getting into mischief. No frantic chirping. A definite silence surrounds me. Light begins flowing this direction from the eastern horizon. As color slowly appears in the vines and trees I feel like I am the only human being on earth.
This day will be long in terms of sunlight. Almost 15 hours of daylight. The last rays of the sun will still be shining over the western horizon until nearly 9pm. Now as days get progressively shorter the vines begin a race to ripen fruit for harvest before there is too little sunlight and the rainy season begins.
Grape clusters are currently bb sized berries. Vines require sunlight, heat and time to produce the correct kind of ripe, juicy, sweet fruit for wine. Today begins the long haul through summer towards harvest. It will be three more months before Counoise and Mourvèdre are ready. The summertime job pulling leaves and thinning clusters of fruit to create a vine environment with balance of sun, shade and air is prime. An airy well-lit canopy of green is best to ripen flavorful purple grapes.
Summer nights on the vineyard are for cooking on the outdoor grill; chicken, corn, ribs, eggplant, squash. Drinking chilled Cinsaut with chicken dinner. Moonlight swims. Gazing with awe at the twinkling visible universe in the night sky; then counting satellites.
The tasting room is open Summer Hours. I added Fridays to Saturday and Sunday. This will accommodate more people who are out and about. It is really nice to be able to show visitors the wines that are grown here.
The other 4 days of the week will be spent alone in the vineyard thinning canes and leaves, weed whacking, hoeing weeds, inspecting vines for signs of water stress. Or inside the cool winery working with topping, tasting, blending and bottling.
The green vines march over Owl Hill. Here with summer weather grape berries will grow plump and change color from green to purple (veraison).
Before we know it autumn and harvest will be here.
Bill Frick lives and works full-time at the Frick Winery & Vineyard in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. He personally makes wines from the grapes grown there and sells them from the tasting room on site. It is a self-contained little domain.
7.77 acres and a man