April 4, 2017


Lake Hennessey in the hills just east of Rutherford in Napa. After this year’s rains, the water level is about as high as anyone has seen for some time.


Pileated Woodpecker-local resident of Lake Hennessey. One of the largest forest birds in the US. 


Woody Woodpecker in flight.


View of Lake Hennessey from the southern flank of Howel Mountain near Amizetta Estate Winery. The Mayacamas Ridge on the western side of the Napa Valley can be seen off in the distance.

March 20, 2017

A rare site-unplanted hills used for grazing cattle in the Carneros region in the southern part of Napa. Mt Diablo in Contra Costa County and San Pablo Bay can be seen in the distance. 




Partially pruned Chardonnay vineyard at Sullivan Vineyards. The section to the left would be pruned the next day.  This is just about as far north as one will see Chardonnay planted on the valley floor in Napa.


Thinking deep thoughts about Coq Au Vin at Sullivan Vineyards in Rutherford.

March 5, 2017

With a break in the rains, more vineyards are being pruned. While Fresno area growers report bud break for wine grapes in the Central Valley, the North Coast Appellation is likely still a few weeks away. Warm weather can hasten this, but all the moisture in the soil from this winter’s rains will keep the soil cool for some time.

These old cabernet vines at Larkmead in Calistoga were recently pruned back to two-bud spurs. Cabernet is one of the later-budding varietals so these vines are just barely showing the fuzzy white ‘popcorn’ stage of the buds.


Before and after pruning – Coombsville Appellation.

February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day from Napa. Winemaking goes on!

At Frank Family Vineyards, the winemaking team sets up to taste through twelve different 2016 Chardonnay components.


After more rain than anyone can remember in recent years, mustard is in full bloom.


Pruning is well underway between the rainstorms that have roared through Northern California in the past few weeks.



January 17, 2017

Parts of northern California received up to 2 feet of rain in the last 30 days. In Napa, Angwin got over 40 inches, while on the other side of the valley, Mt Veeder received over 2 feet of rain.

While rain is always welcome in California, parts of Sonoma’s Russian River area did have some severe flooding.

Here in Napa, locals saw the multi-million dollar flood control project worked perfectly and the historically flood-prone Oxbow area on the Napa River was spared any flooding.

Napa Creek roars under the Main Street bridge as it empties into the Napa River. The overflow channel to the right helps move water that in years past would have flooded neighborhoods a few blocks from here.


The Napa River looking south from Larkmead Lane bridge. Top photo was late December. Bottom photo during the height of the rain in mid-January.


Flooded Vineyards between Oakville and Yountville with the Mayacamas and the Veterens’ Home in the background. Vines are dormant and aside from making it difficult to get into the Vineyards for pruning, the excess water is just giving the vines a good drink.