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The last week of winter brought warm sunny weather that had us all dreaming of spring. My winemaker friends posted social media photos of their vines emerging from wintery slumber amidst the 75°F heat wave and blue skies. However Punxsutawney Phil did forecast a late spring and sure enough the first few days of spring saw soggy conditions which continue to be a challenge with our reservoirs already full. Typically the first week of spring is the normal start of ‘budbreak’ in the grapevines here in Napa Valley. Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the first to spring to life, followed by Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot and then finishing with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Markham Vineyards budbreak oak knoll

Markham Vineyards Eucalyptus Trees We are over our normal annual rainfall, with more rain predicted on the horizon. Grapevines are primordial, similar to fruit trees coincidentally, and it was actually last year’s weather that will influence how many clusters will emerge during this year’s growing season. This year’s weather will, in turn, affect next year’s crop. While we are happy for the generous rain, it does create issues for timing our sulfur dust applications to prevent powdery mildew. Everyone, whether sustainable, organic or biodynamic farmed, uses sulfur in their vineyards. It's key in fighting against mildew in the vineyards. Additionally, if the soils stay damp into summer, the vines will continue to grow which requires extra vigilance, as it is important for the vines to shift focus to ripening the clusters and stop producing leaves. We still have another 5-6 months of both weather and growing before we can even think about how the harvest might turn out, but Spring is an important time in laying the groundwork for an optimum season.

Speaking of optimum season, now is a perfect time to visit the winery. Loyal Markham fans who are familiar with the propery might notice something different: our century old eucalyptus trees that were in front of our winery have been removed! We discovered that they were over a natural gas line and for safety's sake, we said goodbye. It is refreshing to be able to see the winery after watching these behemoths come down limb by limb. We are excited to start landscaping soon!

Markham Vineyards Eucalyptus Trees3

Markham Vineyards Eucalyptus Free

Markham Vineyards Heritage Tasting Room If you are members of our 1879 Society (formerly called the Heritage Club), reach out to your favorite tasting room person to schedule your visit. Have you seen our new Heritage Room upstairs? Set up a food and wine pairing with Christine and see how the winery looked when it was first built, how much wine Jean Laurent recorded making in his 1898 ledger, as well as images of our fearless leader, Bryan Del Bondio, working on putting our very first 1979 Cabernet in the bottle! You might even be able to persuade someone to take you in the new Vineyard Room to show you exactly where the estate wine in your glass was grown. Although my favorite part is definitely the grapevines mounted on the wall. I think they look powerful and serene in their dormancy, just like look before they spring to life again!

Just in case you need another reason to come visit, we have some exciting events lined up and we'd love for you to join us. Arts in April is kicking off Saturday, April 8 and we also have Pizza in the Piazza on May 6. For more info on these great events, click here and we hope to see you soon!