Bud Break, Spring Break, Jailbreak, Chavez Break: Ventura County Vineyards Report March 2020

Citrus blooms between blocks of vines at Clos des Amis South Mountain vineyard.

Driving east on South Mountain Road along the Santa Clara River near Santa Paula in the Heritage Valley,

I am overwhelmed by the scent of citrus blossoms.

It is early spring and every orange and lemon tree in sight is in bloom — and there are acres upon acres of trees in sight.

If I could bottle this citrus scent I could make millions.

Instead I am driving on a spring break jailbreak up to the Clos de Amis vineyards to check on bud break with vintner and winemaker Gretel Mays Compton and while there, give her a hand with a few tasks.

As I drive, as I peer across acres of citrus and row crops, all tended by agricultural labor, I contemplate Cesar Chavez. Continue reading