Category Archives: The Vineyard


Thinning our last large cluster grape variety

A production block of Barbera, can there be any grapes left on the plants?


8/2, thinning our last large cluster grape variety

Cluster Counting

Oscar Gomez,  Coyote Canyon Vineyard and Winery intern, counting clusters.




Clusters are counted on 30 to 50 plants in each block. The average number of clusters per plant is used to get the potential crop estimate. We come up with a target number of clusters for our target yield. We us cluster weights taken from past crop history. If the yields are expected to be to high,  we remove shoots with clusters or just clusters. Then we count clusters again to make sure the right amount was removed. We count clusters in each block from 3 to 5 times a year. We currently have 121 blocks.


Leaf Stripping

Clements leaf stripper in action


We started leafing with our Clemens leaf stripper on June 7th, about 18 days ago and have leafed 17 days completing  678 acres, nearly 40 acres a day with 2 machines. Our goal is to finish this job by the 4th of July.


before after

A picture in a Merlot block before and after leaf removal.

A skilled farm worker in action







Gino Cuneo has brought some great ideas back from his visits to Italy on the growing of Nebbiollo.  His goal is for us to try to grow his 2.1 acres of Nebbiollo grapes as close to how they are grown in Italy. They are cane pruned rather than the traditional spur pruning which we are accustomed to. As you can see in the picture, these vines have very spindly branches which require a lit of special care.

Our last catch wire is nearly 8′ from the ground.  This makes it very difficult for our workers to lift the catch wire and spread the branches. Nebbiolo has a very thin tender skin.  The goal is for the extra height of the canopy to help protect the adjacent row from the heat of the late afternoon sun.

Bunch Closure






Here is a picture taken in our Chardonnay 97 block which we have been using to show the growth in the vineyard.  This picture shows the size of the grapes as of June 24th. They are rapidly reaching bunch closure.

More Shoot Thinning


From our first day, we have now thinned 965 acres with 124.3 left to do. Our goal is to finish shoot thinning by the 4th of July.


While we were thinning our CS98 Cabernet Sauvignon block, we found a swarm of bees who were searching for a new home.

I’ve been told when bees are swarming they can be moved very easily without being stung.    No worries, these guys left on their own.

Weather & More Weather!

looking south 1

Looking south from our yard



A very warm April and early May found myself and most of us in the wine grape industry overflowing with excitement. Finally, a more normal spring after several very cool late ones. That enthusiasm was caped when several weeks of cool rainy weather followed. This quickly slowed the rapid growth that was being observed in most wine grapes.

CH97 block Chardonnay




CH97 block of Chardonnay used to show the early growth in our vineyard

CH97 bloom





this block had 90% bloom










Albarino grapes



Albarino grapes- one of our favorite varieties. I estimated bloom on Oct. 30th of 40% and on June 1st 85%


one of our weather stations located north of my house in a young block of cabernet Sauvignon. You can observe the weather on this station at any time from our web page.



One of our weather stations located north of my house in a young block of cabernet Sauvignon. You can observe the weather on this station at any time from our web page.

We planted









We planted an additional 10.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon this spring. This Picture shows the grape about to escape the grow tube.  Be watching, for pictures as they climb over the top





 One of our vineyard Kestrels that has adopted us as home. They are very territorial. They are not afraid of most other birds. They will chase them from the vineyard even when the other birds are much larger,  including a Red tailed Hawk.



V. shoot thin1


On wed. may 8h we started shoot thinning. As of Saturday June 1st we had shoot thinned over 402 acres. All our grapes are showing their fruitfulness this year. This means we will have a lot of extra grapes and shoots to remove from the plants. The procedure is: My son Macauley makes an accurate count of the average shoot number and cluster number in each block. My son Jeff compiles the average shoot and cluster number per plant for each block from past seasons. Looking at past yields and this years desired yield,  he projects the number of each to reach that desired yield. I use this information and practical observation as I shoot thin some sample plants with my foreman, Toney. I make the final calculation and give Toney that number to be carried out by the crew. I also give the number to Jeff to record for future reference.

Shoot Th 0140



In the Viognier block pictured we were thinning to 3 shoots per spur. Our red grapes are usually thin to 2 shoots per spur. 1st year wood is often thinned to one shoot per spur.






So McK later



Looking south from McKinley Springs Rd a week later



Are you watching? We’re still growing!

Record growth of 4 to 5 inches in a week.

Record growth of 4 to 5 inches in a week.


This photo shows some shoot thinning which began 5/8

This photo shows some shoot thinning which began 5/8

Chardonnay 97 (5/13) Over the weekend we had record heat in the 90's which caused rapid growth in all grape varieties.

Chardonnay 97 (5/13)
Over the weekend we had record heat in the 90’s which caused rapid growth in all grape varieties.


Watch us grow at the Coyote Canyon Vineyard

A perfect spring and warm weather make for perfect growing conditions

Our vines are soaking up the sun and it shows

barbara                                               Char 97





















Update From Mike Andrews

After these extreme cold mornings we have had, I am looking forward to today’s temperatures of 80 degrees.

On my way to barrel tasting this morning I took this picture of our Chardonnay block.

“The vines are ready to start growing and soak up some sun!”

Mike Andrews, Coyote Canyon2013-04-26 08.52.38 Winery