As we open the studio for business today, I am taken by the change of weather this week in Northern California. Nights are still very cold, but the days grow warm quite quickly. The layers of shirts, vests, coats, scarves, and hats are being set aside, placed in drawers.
This date also reminds me of some things I did not know, until recently, as told by a grower in grapes in Sonoma’s Dry Creek.
One, April 1st is the official, first day of the growing season for vines, with October 31st serving as the finale. By April 1, the feet and the arms of the vines, both young and old, have begun to warm in the rich, mineral laden Sonoma and Napa soil. The breeze blows a bit warmer and a full day of sun, on most days, has returned. Little shoots will soon green the vines, and it is truly spectacular to see. All of these dramatic and mysterious looking vines, who have been hammered all winter long by rain and wind, and have served as command and scouting posts for many a bird of prey, are waking up.
Two, this event is followed in the next few weeks by something for one’s nose and heart: the bloom, actually, the loss of the vine’s Calyptra. A Calyptra is the “membranous hood covering the spore-bearing capsule” of a plant. Upon the vines losing their little caps, this growth stage on a grapevine will fill a field or valley with the most exquisite and extraordinary spice-dirt-fresh-floral-citrus-grass fragrance I have ever known. Now, that’s a flower. I was fortunate enough, once, to be in the right Chardonnay field, on the right evening, with friends and chairs nearby. Wine from year’s previous, in our glasses. Cheers to the day.