March winds and April showers have brought forth… a timely bud break at Pride’s estate vineyard atop Spring Mountain. In this photo, cane-pruned viognier vines are just beginning to grow, and the first delicate leaves will soon unfurl. The timing has been excellent, allowing our mostly still dormant vines to weather an April 5 – 6 freeze that is reported to have caused some frost damage in the valley below. We held off on pruning the earliest blocks, our viognier and chardonnay, as well as a particularly vulnerable block of merlot, until April 2nd, which delayed bud break just enough for us to miss the cold front. The risk of frost is not yet past, but the 10-day forecast calls for three days of showers followed by partly-sunny weather with highs in the mid 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s, a nice, safe zone that should not put our tender young buds at risk of a freeze. After spending January and February doing an unsuccessful rain dance (we experienced one of the driest winters on record in Northern California), March and April have brought the rain that we need to keep our vines healthy this vintage. Now we begin to look ahead, hoping for a dry, sunny May that will allow our grapes to bloom and “set” (self-pollinate) this year’s crop. This is always an exciting time of year since the future is entirely unknown. But we can count on one thing – Mother Nature will surely keep us on our toes!