February is a fascinating time at the vineyard. At the start of the month you start to get a feel for what your harvest is going to look like from a yield perspective, yet the grapes look a mile away from being ready.
Throughout the month the grapes start to change colour and begin to take on the appearance of beautiful pinot bunches. While it's not exactly a sense of relief, mother nature usually comes through, it does make the evening vineyard walks more interesting seeing how the different blocks developing at different paces.
This does come with a challenge though and that is the birds. They love sweet little pinot berries so the nets go on as we try to keep the fruit for the bottles only. The nets do slow down ripening a little but the risk of Way-Eyes coming down from the mountains for lunch is too great. They would clean us out in a couple of days which would be a disaster.
With the nets up, there isn't a lot you can do with the grapes. The pruning, thinning and spraying is all but complete. Its really a case of, as Peter Montgomery used to say, hurry up and wait! We should be picking our fruit in the 2nd or 3rd week of April.