Pruning: January in Ventura County’s South Mountain Vineyard

Malbec and other red wine vines at the South Mountain Vineyard of Clos des Amis located above the small town of Santa Paula California. Photo by Gwendolyn Alley.

Instead of attending Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, a break in the weather between winter storms found me drinking my morning coffee while driving the windy South Mountain Road from Santa Paula toward Fillmore along the Santa Clara River in Ventura County’s Heritage Valley (check out Pam Strayer’s  Unified coverage here). The day, while dry, was full of moist air from the river and the rains.

On one side of me, bright balls of orange decorated the glossy dark green leafed citrus trees and on the other steep hillsides banded with chalky marine and red sedimentary layers reminded me of what’s underneath. Soon purple lupine, golden poppies, and yellow mustard will splash across the horizon on the glowing verdant hillsides.

Cisco, my faithful Australian cattle dog sidekick, Continue reading