Iron Horse Blog

Joy Sterling
February 28, 2015 | Joy Sterling

Could we really have harvest in July?????

Spring, why are you so early? Gorgeous, clear, blue skies, sweet smelling plum blossoms filling the air, masses of daffodils, happy songbirds, asparagus and artichokes in the markets … spring is here and has been for quite a while. It has been a guilty pleasure; we need the rain, but it is hard to complain when two-thirds of the country is freezing.

We had our first smattering of bud break in the vineyards on February 7. That’s three weeks earlier than last year, which was two weeks earlier than the year before. 

Some scientists call this “season creep”, when spring comes earlier and earlier. The term is like “mission creep” when military action inexorably escalates into war. Or, “bracket creep”, which our wholesale distributors use to describe gradual wine price increases.

Watch the roses. They are the sentinels at the end of the rows of the vines. It’s concerning to see them pushing out leaves in February.

We simply have to accept that the phenology clock has started and we are going to have to keep up with Mother Nature.

Early bud break means our highly trained vineyard team is working like crazy to get the pruning done. It is much harder work when the vines start pushing because you have to be all the more careful not to knock off the buds.

Another danger of early bud break is a very long frost season. We are subject to frost as late as June 1 here in Green Valley.

Right now it is nice and cool, but much depends on the temperatures going forward. We could conceivably be picking for sparkling wine in July and for still wine in August.

Our extraordinarily premature and warm temperatures may be providing us with a rehearsal for future “normal” conditions. When is spring, anyway? Our calendar is just a construct. In the traditional lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is a spring festival.

As farmers, we need to adapt and each of us has to do what we can to lessen our collective negative impact on our atmosphere to slow and hopefully halt our drift toward an excessively erratic world.

As for vintage 2015, we’re focusing on the vines (instead of looking at the date on the calendar) and giving them what they need on their schedule, not ours. Whenever it falls, spring is a time for optimism. And, there is no reason to assume that the unknown will turn out poorly, which is yet another good reason to drink bubbly - the drink of optimists.


Time Posted: Feb 28, 2015 at 5:14 PM Permalink to Could we really have harvest in July????? Permalink
Joy Sterling
February 2, 2015 | Joy Sterling

Some of our Favorite Toasts ...

Happy Groundhog Day! We are happy that we can see the shadow from our flutes on the Iron Horse Tasting Bar meaning there is more winter on the way … hopefully rain.

So far, 2015 is off to such a great start, beginning with the honor of having our 2010 Classic Vintage Brut served at the private reception for about 200 in the Governor’s Office, celebrating Jerry Brown’s inauguration to an unprecedented 4th term. This was at 11 o’clock in the morning, so the Brut was featured both “neat” and in mimosas with California OJ.

I am also thrilled to share with you these exciting photos of Iron Horse Ocean Reserve at the summit celebration for Santa Rosa, Sonoma County native Kevin Jorgenson and his climbing partner Tommy Caldwell after scaling the Dawn Wall of El Capitan - a feat that has earned them admiration and cheers from all over the world.

This is how we hope everyone feels when toasting with our bubbly ... on top of the world!

With all my very best,




Time Posted: Feb 2, 2015 at 1:11 PM Permalink to Some of our Favorite Toasts ... Permalink