Whining about wine

While folks like NASA / GISS whine on about “Hottest Ever” and “one of the 10 hottest”, the wine grapes tell a different story. Yes, I’m going to be whining about wine…

(Short form: Buy a stock now. Harvest down and poorer quality, likely to cause price rises this year.)

http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/48726/2011-winegrape-crop/

Friday, February 10, 2012, 12:20 pm
North Coast 2011 winegrape crop 11% lighter, nearly 7% lower value
Winery, grower cooperation during rainy harvest prevents higher crop loss, experts say

By Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff Reporter

NORTH COAST — The first official tally of the impact of the stormy 2011 winegrape season is in: North Coast vintners crushed 11.8 percent fewer tons last year than in 2010, and the value of the 2011 crop at nearly $848 million was 6.9 percent smaller than the year before, despite average per-ton prices rising 5 percent to 10 percent last year, according to preliminary state figures.

“The crop was down from last year, but it is probably not down as far as some predicted in November and December, said Glenn Proctor, partner of San Rafael-based wine and grape brokerage Ciatti Co. “As we went into January we felt it was not as bad, as growers started reporting crop size.”

OK first up is just the reduced tonnage. As wine orchards tend to be long duration things, this isn’t like sugar beets where acreage changes a lot from year to year. They also tend to be pruned to a specific size, so year to year the orchard tends to stay the same total size / acre.

These grape plants were NOT happy with the cold, nor the wet.

The 2011 California Grape Crush Report, an annual benchmark for grape sales contracts, chronicles three interwoven wine industry storylines for the year, according to Brian Clements of Novato-based Turrentine Brokerage.

“It tells the story of increasing (bottle) sales,” he said. “It tells the story of Mother Nature impacting crops. It tells the story of wineries and growers working together to get the crop in at lower-than-contracted sugar levels.

A number of grape purchase contracts stipulate target levels of sugar in grape berries and other quality aspects for fruit that a winery will accept from a grower. Without irrigation or rain, cluster berries start raisining — lowering cluster weight — and sugar levels increase.

Fewer but heavier lower-sugar clusters have partly offset large reductions in yield because of the weather, Mr. Clements speculated.

This ‘sugar content’ is very important. First, because sugar production is proportional to ‘degree days’. That lower sugar directly says “Less Heat”. No heat, no sugar… (too much heat gives lots of sugar, but the acid level drops and you get insipid flavor in the wines).

It also matters in that lower sugar makes for great German Style Whites, but poorer Chablis… Nice “White Zin”, but tepid Cabernet Sauvignon. So buy prior year deep reds… and 2011/12 whites… however…

Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc tonnage hit hard

The biggest hit to crop size from the early-season rains, cool season and more rain at harvest was in Sonoma County and for that winegrowing region’s top variety, chardonnay, according to the state report. It was the county’s smallest chardonnay crop in seven years.

Total Sonoma County tonnage fell by nearly 26,000 tons, or 13.5 percent, to 166,000 tons from nearly 192,000 tons in 2010. Napa County tonnage shrank by 12.7 percent to 121,000 from nearly 138,000 a year before. Following harvest, industry crop-shortage estimates ranged from 20 percent to one-third.

Chardonnay tonnage in the county dropped 21 percent to 52,000. The variety was hit hard throughout the North Coast, off 22.2 percent in tonnage, with chardonnay off 23.1 percent in Napa County 23.7 percent in Mendocino County and by just more than one-third in Lake County.

Another major North Coast white grape variety hurt badly by the spring and fall rains was sauvignon blanc. The 30,500 tons crushed last year were the lowest in six years, down 20.4 percent from 2010 and off by 28 percent and 32 percent in Napa and Sonoma counties, respectively.

If you have a particular fondness for those whites, better stock up now on prior year production, as they will be more expensive when this vintage goes to bottle…

http://world.einnews.com/pr_news/80242618/california-winegrape-crop-in-2011-3-34-million-tons

Has similar news, but looks to a wider geography. So while the first link had Zinfandel recovering from a prior year ‘sunburn’, in Lodi (near Stockton near Sacramento California – Central Valley and where a lot of ‘jug wine’ is made) had a hit to their Zin:

“Of the major varieties, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Syrah all posted sharp declines from 2010. Only two major varieties had larger crops in 2011: Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, which increased due to recent new plantings and healthy yields in the Central Valley. Pinot Noir was down in the Coastal areas but statewide both Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio had their largest crops ever in 2011. Basically, demand will exceed supply for the near future, keeping prices firm.”

-Steve Fredricks, President, Turrentine Brokerage

So two varieties that had a lot of new acreage had increases. Everything else is down…

“The crop of Zinfandel in the Lodi area was down 25% from 2010, caused largely by lower yields, and the continued shift towards red wine. This will keep the market active for 2012 grapes and bulk wine.”

-Erica Moyer, Partner/Broker, Turrentine Brokerage

A 1/4 drop is a “Big Deal”. Don’t expect to find a lot of cheap and good White Zin in a year or two.

“The Muscat varieties — used for the quickly growing Moscato category — increased only 7%, or the equivalent of only 380,000 cases. Moscato has been posting sales growth of well over 75%.

-Steve Fredricks, President, Turrentine Brokerage

“While the crop in the North Coast was down 11%, it could potentially have been much smaller if growers and wineries hadn’t cooperated to harvest grapes early in many cases.”

-Brian Clements, Vice President, Turrentine Brokerage

“Overall, Chardonnay, the largest variety, was down a substantial 15% statewide in 2011 compared to 2010, which is a decrease of 15 million gallons or over 6 million cases. Cabernet Sauvignon, the largest red variety, declined 14%, a decrease of 10 million gallons, or over 4 million cases.”

Note that “harvest early”. That was due to things cooling off sooner than expected. The grapes had to be harvested early, and at lower than expected sugar. That’s what happens when things get cold.

You can find this same grape production report info in many different reports. What it all adds up to is two things:

There was less sun, warmth, growing season.

Wines will be in shorter supply and at higher prices going forward.

I would also add that: The grapes are not lying, nor ‘adjusting their data’. They clearly state that “Hottest Ever” and even “Among the hottest 10” is just bunk. We did not have 1/3 improvements in production (the inverse of a 1/4 loss now) in 2010 vs 2009 or 2008. The grapes are saying that there is something a bit bogus in the “hottest” claims.

I do have to add that part of the weather issues were rain related. We had a lot of rain last year. So this year will be a good comparison for “cold and dry” vs “cold and wet”. But cold it will be…

I’ve not found a ‘wine grape production by year’ graph (but didn’t look too hard ;-) Partly as adjusting for decade scale variations in plantings and varieties would make it hard to use for any climate speculations. Partly because I think the present plunge is dramatic enough to make the point on its own.

FWIW, if you would like more about the different varietals, this link has a nice intro:

http://www.napavintners.com/wines/napa_valley_grape_varieties.aspx

One final note: To the extent other crops also are sensitive to ‘degree days’, we could well see tonnages drop in other crops (and prices rise too). I’ve not gone looking for that data (yet…). Again, in part, due to the widely varying plantings possible for ‘row crops’. Orchards have decade scale stability, sweet corn not so much…

But in aggregate, the ‘degree day’ can not be denied…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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31 Responses to Whining about wine

  1. R. de Haan says:

    Clear story, same symptoms reflected by the orange farmers
    http://westernfarmpress.com/orchard-crops/january-freeze-reduces-california-navel-mandarin-crops

    And what to think about Southern Europe?
    http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/code-red-agriculture-tuscany/
    And North Africa
    http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/algeria-cold-spell-kills-least-44

    Or China
    http://www.euronews.net/nocomment/2012/02/08/cold-wave-cause-temperature-slumps-in-nothern-china/

    Japan and South Korea
    http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20120203/113175.shtml

    It’s not unreasonable to state that we are in the NH winter period now and cold spells can be expected.

    But what makes observations interesting is the fact that cold snaps effecting crops are also happening in the SH, from Australia
    http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/adelaide-cold-snap-not-1977/
    http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4E8D24AD20120202 to Middle and South America as we speak.

    Click to access camer_Jan19_2012.pdf

  2. R. de Haan says:

    Huge increase NH snow cover over the past 10 years
    http://www.Real-Science.com/huge-increase-snow-cover-10-years

  3. John F. Hultquist says:

    We have been followers/friends of the WA wine growers for many years and I helped with the pruning of a 17 acre vineyard last year. So, again, you have hit on a favorite topic. Vines “integrate” the weather.
    The first “climate zone” maps were based on vegetation. From everyone’s favorite reference site:
    “The system is based on the concept that native vegetation is the best expression of climate. Thus, climate zone boundaries have been selected with vegetation distribution in mind.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6ppen_climate_classification

    Previous winter was hard on WA vines. So far this year the vines are in good shape.

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: There is something more than nobody says: Glucose C6H12O6, as the formula shows, it is formed out of C=carbon, from CO2 and Water=H2O. Cellulose, the plant´s body (called “dried matter” when analyzed) is a Cellulose polymer. If plants take Carbon from the air, from the atmosphere, breathing CO2, then imagine what a lot of CO2 is needed. No CO2 no plants, no wood, no cotton, no underwear!…and no YOU!
    That is why Al Gore´s preaching is so utterly stupid.

  5. Hugo M says:

    It has been two weeks or so that a Swiss journal reported about Snow Owls (Bubo scandiacus) invading the US in great quantities this winter. One of them was even found on Hawai.

  6. Judy F. says:

    My “willing to try almost anything outside the conventional agriculture box” son is trying to grow wine grapes in northeast Colorado. He has 4 year old vines and is having limited success. He has found that rabbits like grapevines and grapes are particularly susceptible to herbicide drift from nearby wheat fields being sprayed. We have had a mild winter, but also a dry one, so we’ll see what this year brings.

    This brings to mind something I have been thinking about lately. With all the talk of a possible cooling period, with lower temperatures than we have seen recently, I have been thinking about gardens. Not necessarily what is grown in them, but how they are grown. My limiting factors in gardening success is firstly water and secondly wind protection. My vegetable garden is on the west side of my house, with a drip watering system. I have a newer house with relatively little in the way of windbreaks, for protection from our prevailing north/northwest winds. Two years ago I planted several types of tomatoes ( cherry, slicing and paste). I planted 3 plants of each type in my garden, but also planted one of each on the south side of my house. The ones in the garden struggled, barely producing enough to make it worth the effort. The plants on the south side of my house had three inch diameter main stems, 6 foot long laterals on determinate varieties and were covered in fruit. Since my landscaping has now grown up enough to limit my ability to stick in a few tomato plants around the house, I have been thinking of least cost ways to shelter my garden.

    That led me to thinking about medieval walled gardens. When you see pictures of large castles, abbeys and manor house gardens, they often have a walled garden. I never had given that much thought, often attributing the
    walled garden as an attempt to keep out the occasional marauding goat or even the riff-raff. Now I realize they were walled as an attempt to create a warmer microclimate where household crops had a better chance of survival. The walls were usually stone, which allowed the heat of the sun to be absorbed. Fruits were espalliered on walls, vegetables were often in round or radiating arm beds etc.

    I would really like to have a walled garden. I think it would solve my wind/water problem. Anybody want to build me one for cheap? Marauding goats and riff-raff need not apply.

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    Hugo M,

    I posted this link on “The No Tricks Zone” a day or so ago, as regards
    sightings of Snowy Owls this year. People are making a big fuss about this, but – I’ve seen this movie before.

    http://earthsky.org/biodiversity/snowy-owl-sightings-soar

    I picked this site because of the nice photos. I do not know anything about the site. There are many results, if you search on the topic.

  8. John F. Hultquist says:

    Judy F.,
    “Grow tubes” [search with this for images] or aluminum foil help with rabbits. Consider winter snow depth. Otherwise they just start near the top of the snow and work their way up – a foot or so. If your son’s vines are healthy they will recover from mild herbicide drift. Makes for odd shaped leaves until new ones grow. Also, if you can spray with water while the application over wheat fields is in progress the damage should be less. A few cats in the vineyard help, especially when the little bunnies first venture from their nest. Big owls and coyotes like cats. Life’s hard.

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Judy F LOL! If “Green house effect” has failed for the earth, then try a real green house and connect into it the exhaust of an engine.

  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ John F. Hultquist. Birds not seen before are appearing where they did not use to, most probably because the rapidly changing magnetic fields:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

  11. Judy F. says:

    @John Hultquist.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Son left on grow tubes sent with the vines when he did his second year planting. It works for rabbits, keeps the vines from winter sunscald and dessication, but mice like to nest in the warmth now. The herbicide damage left yellowed and curled leaves with some burnt edges, but it was only on certain plants and all survived.

    Your caution on the snow depth made me laugh. We don’t usually have standing snow for very long, since our snow usually falls sideways because of wind, so we have bare spots alternating with snow drifts. About three years ago we had a fairly substantial snowfall and lots of rabbits. I live in a very small town in a rural area. I looked out my window to see jackrabbits standing on the 2 foot snow drifts eating my 6 foot tall Austrian Pine ( Pinus Nigris). It is a bushier, as opposed to a cone shaped evergreen tree, so I now have a Barbie Doll shaped pine tree – large on the top, large on the bottom and wasp waisted in the middle. Fortunately, it is kind of growing out of it’s unusual pruning after 3 years. I tell myself no one will notice when the tree is 30 feet tall.

    @ Adolfo. Great idea! You can come build me a greenhouse!!!

  12. R. de Haan says:

    Rumanian farmers digging their pigs out of the snow, bringing them into the house to keep them warm. Return to the Medieval Ages?
    http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/european-death-toll-tops-650-farmers-concerned-animals/

  13. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Judy; back in the “Good old days” I filled old tires in stacks with dirt to make a columnar wall planted both in the tires( squash etc) and against the tires ( tomatoes, peppers). this was done in an area that had a poor growing season.

    At my present site my kitchen garden has a building on the north and east side and a fence and greenhouse on the west side, it is tightly fenced along the south to keep out deer, bear and rabbits. This last season I had many tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to eat and give away.

    I had a fair grape crop but the sugar quality was down as the summer season was cooler then normal. Now the winter carrots, cabbages and turnips are quite sweet as this winter has been warmer and dryer then normal. Just have to make the best of what you have. pg

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R. de Haan (01:01:31) : Interesting. There are many events, occurred during the LIA, which are repeating now. Perhaps E.M. has the patience to find them all.

  15. R. de Haan says:

    No need for doing that.
    In the netherlands you can find the Open Air Museum which is nothing less than a travel through time with “real houses and farm buildings with people who live the life style and wear the clothing of the past times.

    During these day’s the farm animals provided the warmth they needed during the long winters as the stable was part of the living room.

    As for the big event http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHistory.htm provides a nice chronological data base of weather events mixed with eye witness reports.

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    Was it not that there would be droughts all over the world, as the consequence of “global warming”?
    http://www.peruviantimes.com/13/heavy-rains-batter-perus-highlands-jungle-and-coast/14961/

  17. P.G. Sharrow says:

    R. de Haan; If you get your information from farmers instead of collage elites you would know that the “stable” was brought into the house to save the livestock from very bad weather conditions. A farm or ranch is best operated for the benefit of the livestock not the people. pg

  18. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. Who can buy a farm is fortunate and buy it if you don´t want to grow hungry in days to come” Edgard Cayce……

    You are lucky. We´ll try to eat cement… :-)

  19. R. de Haan says:

    P.G. Sharrow (16:14:52) :
    R. de Haan; If you get your information from farmers instead of collage elites you would know that the “stable” was brought into the house to save the livestock from very bad weather conditions. A farm or ranch is best operated for the benefit of the livestock not the people. pg

    P. G, I have generations of farmers in my family.
    Of course you’re right about the protection of live stock from weather conditions. However, the medieval farmhouse exhibited at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, the Netherlands, has the living room combined with the stable to make use of the warmth produced by the animals.

    Much later in time when better wood heaters and coal was introduced the stables were separated from the farmhouse.
    Of course there were also sanitary and hygienic reasons to that in order to prevent disease and get rid of the mice and the rats.

    http://www.openluchtmuseum.nl/en/

  20. P.G. Sharrow says:

    R. de Haan I am well aware of the medieval reconstructions and interpretations. I grew up in livestock country on a livestock farm in an area that was settled by grand parents of my peers. An area that sometimes experience 40 below 0f and blizzards. After your weapons and wife, your livestock are your most precious possessions. When you have to construct buildings by your own two hands, every thing is under one roof. when you get RICH you can afford to build a house, later a real barn. Cats and dogs will handle the rats and mice that attempt to intrude.
    I am not from a long line of farmers, I am from a long line of settlers. pg

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, I’m from a short line of farmers and a long line of Smiths (and with the odd sailor and hausfrau for good measure) and I can settle this. We ALL know that the forge is what keeps the house warm! ;-)

    There really isn’t a conflict here. Everyone was to be warm, so the ‘house’ was the upper story of the barn. Everybody and every critter benefited… (It’s like asking if you eat for pleasure or energy… the answer is “yes!”…)

    And all this talk of bunnies marauding and keeping them out with tall sturdy fences has me grinning…. My bunnies are integral to the garden. Mobil cleanup committee and instant composters… So plants are either in tall pots or have a 3 foot tall “dog run fence” around them (one per garden square of 4 x 4 feet).

    Though I did put a “cage” over some marigolds of about 2 x 2 and 1 foot high… so the bunnies could munch what grows through it for self administering flea treatment…. So one day I notice “Little Jack” sitting on TOP of the cage munching the ends of the shallots in a tall pot next to it… Just the right height for a snack. Sigh.

    I keep telling myself I’m smarter than a bunny… and sometimes I even believe it for a day or two…

    (BTW, while onions are toxic to many animals, like dogs and horses; they are called ‘lunch’ for bunnies and humans. I think we are more closely related to bunnies than to many other critters, given that quirk, and that our appendix is a vestigial form of their ‘hind gut fermentation’ chamber…
    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/nutrition/feeds/eqgarlic528/ )

    @Adofo:

    BTW, I don’t “do” facebook… just not enough time as it is…

    and the security is sucky…

    FWIW, you can make some nice gardening happen in very small spaces. Even a bay window can make for a nice herb garden… I’ve gotten more squash than I could eat from two pots of about 1/2 to 3/4 meter diameter each. Tomatoes too. (though I could eat them all…)

    That Peruvian Rain is right in keeping with the Maya Dresden Codex. The air has gone cold and now we’re sucking decades of heat out of the oceans. That happens as rapid evaporation, that then becomes torrential rains.

    At least it will end in a few years… then we get cold and dry…

    Per all the ‘rain and cold events’: I’ve got a few links… maybe an ‘everything old is new again’ posting? Prepare for skating in Holland and Denmark, frozen gondolas in Venice, ice faires in England, (unfortunately they often come with famine in Ireland and revolutions in France… Odd Factoid: There are two major Irish Famines in centuries that end in -40. And what’s coming up? 2040 at just about the project end of the cooling cycle…)

    @P.G. Sharrow: Like that tire idea…

    @Judy F:

    During my Vit & Eino class we learned about wine grapes in Germany (and colder places…) In the extreme, the vines are trellised and trained such that they can be laid down each winter and dirt heaped over them, then uncovered and repositioned when the snow / ice leave… For a modern version, I’d likely use 4 or 6 inch thick styrofoam boxes over each… Look up German wine grape techniques…

    Per microclimates: Makes all the difference in the world. But plant choices matter too. I can just barely grow a tomato, so they get center sunny spot and with black plastic ‘mulch’ under them (May try tires next time ;-) Never shady and never north side. Those near a west exposure fence do better too. Night temps determine fruit set (below 50 F for most is ‘a problem’ but Siberia or Siberian – two different types! – can set down to 40 F or so). Just putting a cloche on at night can do wonders…

    As I live in the Bay Area it’s always too cold… yet even in February I’m picking kale and onions… and at a local public garden saw very nice lettuce and turnips and even some peas… So clearly I could ‘do more’ to make a winter garden. As long as I like winter crops…

    For me, the ‘hard bit’ is that I’ve got an Avocado tree about 3 years old now. They don’t do well with frost (though this type, Bacon, is better than most). I’m expecting some leaf burn in future winters. It is planted about 10 feet from the house and 6 from a south facing fence; so far that has prevented frost damage though we’ve had frosts. As it gets above the roof line that may ‘self limit’…

    And what’s wrong with a “Bar-B-Doll Tree?” (Nobody told me they grow on trees ;-)

    Next time just put out a plate of rabbit pellets or alfalfa hay and you could save that tree…

    (When full, my bunnies lay under a Sage Bush. When the kibble runs out, they browse it… )

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Don’t forget that ‘leach lines’ are sold at Home Depot. About 4 or 6 inches in diameter. Cut of chunks for custom length grow tubes (hacksaw) and it’s pretty cheap. Put on it’s side, makes a decent hyroponcs bed (or regular dirt, just drill ‘seed holes’ every foot or so with a couple of inch ‘lock drill’). Put a “Tee” on one end so it doesn’t roll and cap the other… Fill with dirt.

    Don’t glue the cap on, that way it’s easy to change the media / dirt.

    Oh, and I think the birds are just noticing that Very Cold Stratospheric downdrafts up north and riding the faster winds further south to where it’s still warm… It’s what I’d do…

    The good news is that I’ve had less bird damage this year. They are leaving earlier and coming back later and not hanging around for a snack in between…

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. During 2008 it happened that Hamelin was, once more, invaded with rats; an indication that another “Maunder Minimum” had begun, as in 1284:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3482522/Pied-Piper-needed-to-lure-rats-from-Hamelin.html
    Perhaps you could write an article of several of the events which are repeating again.

  23. Judy F. says:

    @ PG Tires also make nice potato towers, when you keep adding tires and dirt as the season progresses. Before rolls of fabric weed barrier came into use, on the farm we used tires as protection around new windbreak trees. We also used tires to weight down the plastic over the silage pile. One of the jobs I hated doing was heaving those tires on top of the plastic, with any nasty rainwater, bugs, mouse poop, collected in the tires “raining” back down on me. Guaranteed to get a faceful no matter which way the wind was blowing.

    @EM My son raised rabbits, so I have a soft spot for them, but I don’t feed the wild ones. Next thing you know they’ll be knocking on the front door expecting a free handout, hat in hand, saying “But, Missus, think of all the little ones”. (Okay, I probably do feed them, since my compost pile is full of Halloween pumpkins, peelings, bread etc. I’ve seen enough tracks around the pile to know the critters like it. But I like my story above better.)

    One of the local farmers brings in trucks of onions for his sheep this time of year. He must get them really cheap and the sheep seem to like them.

    I have wondered about laying down plastic in the garden about a month before my last frost date, to see if it would warm the ground enough to give things a head start. Has anybody else tried that?

  24. H.R. says:

    @Judy F. (20:05:19) :

    I’m planning to lay down black plastic on my garden this year. I’ll let you know next Fall how it worked out.

  25. dearieme says:

    “Now I realize they were walled as an attempt to create a warmer microclimate where household crops had a better chance of survival.” Indeed: they are particularly lovely to bask in when it’s a sunny day but there’s a chill wind off the North Sea.

    By the way, if wine prices are about to rise in the US, this could be your opportunity to try English wine. Twenty years ago that would have been a joke, but some of them now are pretty decent, and many of the champagne-style ones are really very good. Firms from Champagne have been buying acreages where the latitude and geology are similar to their home territory. Quite like the Medieval Warm Period, eh?

  26. dearieme says:

    @JUdy F: we used to say that if ever we were Very Rich we’d build ourselves a house with a walled garden somewhere in the dry areas of Britain – say East Lothian or East Anglia. Bliss.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Judy F.:

    As I have 3 bunnies that now “Meet me hat in hand, asking, Me, Sir? Anything for Me?” when I go out to thin the garden… I can relate to your story. They DO become “mooches” over time… but I like being Mooched, I guess ;-)

    http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/plasticprimer.html

    is only one of dozens of write ups you can find with a search on “plastic mulch warm soil”. It’s so common here that you simply can’t find things like strawberries that are NOT grown through plastic mulch. In cooler areas, tomatoes too.

    @Adofo:

    Wow! The Rats Know! (Yes, multipath that statement… And a big Rat might be named Al…)

    I’ve thought about doing a ‘history repeats’ series, but not had the time lately. OTOH, it IS getting a bit ridiculous with the parallels…

    @Dearime:

    Always up for new wine experiences ;-)

    But… If I were Very Rich, I’d be buying a walled garden home in The Virgin Islands… or the Caymans.. or French Polynesia…

    As of today, I’ve got some Peas starting in ‘6 packs’ along with some brown seed purple pod beans that germinate and grow in cooler soils. I’ve started some Fava beans to soak along with some summer squash seeds.

    With luck, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll get the “early planting’ of them and some radishes, turnips in the ground. IMHO, we’re done with probable frost, so time to start cool season plants. IFF a late frost does take them, well, no loss of time to just replant…

    As I’ve done more seed saving, I’ve come to realize that I’m storing about ten times the rate of using… so I need to either ‘use more’ or pitch them when too old anyway. (As storage in a jar in the freezer gives many year viability, waiting for ‘too old’ takes a long time…) So I’m shifting my technique to more “plant crazy early and replant if needed” and less “plant only when sure to be safe”. The only “cost” is more time playing in the garden (and a few more mooches ;-)

  28. Pascvaks says:

    In the marketplace less can be more and more can be less. For a recent ‘market’ perspective from a grape/wine broker (Sonoma – Marin – Napa Counties) with a ‘less is more’ disposition on the latest (preliminary) grape “Crush Report” for 2011-

    http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/47213/grape-market-insights-on-harvest-2011-in-preliminary-crush-report/?tc=ar

  29. Pascvaks says:

    Note: (Ref Above, my last cmt) in the words, well a few, from an old M.A.S.H. song.. ‘Multitasking is painless.. etc., etc.’ Sometimes I try to think of many things at the sametime. Fortunately, I rarely try to say or type anything whenever I do and am not painfully embarassed in the process. Don’t know why I referenced the same ‘broker’ Chiefio did. Mea Culpa;-( Remember how you used to do embarassing things when you were a kid? The older I get the more childish I seem to get;-)

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