So did you hear the one about Typhoon Melor? Apparently it hit Japan this past Thursday and now it’s churning across the Pacific on a collision course with Northern California’s premier wine-making areas. Dumping several inches of rain and lowering the temperatures to unseasonable cools is not a good thing late in the season. So Sonoma and Napa are in a panic as we wait for Melor’s expected arrival Tuesday. Weeks ahead of schedule, vineyards are picking their tenderest grapes early. Crews are impossible to find. In fact, our 7:30AM Sunday crew just defaulted when a bigger vineyard claimed them. The latest word is that we’ll get someone by noon Sunday, but I’m sharpening up my kitchen shears and expecting that I’ll be out there.
The predicted storm also means a run on hay stores like you wouldn’t believe. Since we get little or no rain from about March to November usually, the first big storm hits the baked earth like a sledgehammer, bouncing off, overfilling creeks and causing mudslides. Anything that looks vaguely unstable is shored up with straw wattles and hay bales. John the Baptist, Louis and a helper are here on overtime trying to get everything secured. Meanwhile, I’m rushing out to fertilize my baby fruit orchard. If the storm can do anything for me, at least it should be able to relieve me of the chore of deep soaking the trees. I’ll sprinkle my organic fertilizer and let Melor do its work.
So we hooked up Andy’s new slightly used Range Rover and headed over to Brocco’s Old Barn. Brocco’s is old school. A little bit of dog food, the occasional kitten on display and needing adoption from the local pet shelter, but mostly feed. Chicken feed. Grain. Horse and sheep feed. And hay. Lots and lots of hay. We arrived just after the morning rush had cleaned out half Brocco’s inventory. They are predicting they’ll be out by day’s end.
Because this is Sonoma, the feed store is old school. Because this is Sonoma, it’s old school with style. Cute Cowboy Cory — with stylish fauxhawk, chaps, mean looking hay hooks and chewing tobacco — helped us load our trailer with wattles and hay bales. Andy’s powder blue Range Rover didn’t exactly help us blend in as locals. No matter. They still treat you right at Brocco’s.
Now provided we can get some crews tomorrow, we’re about as ready as we’ll ever be. Melor, bring it on. Hopefully you won’t rain on anything but the Cabernet which we’re leaving on the vines for later ripening. I’m told, short of a Biblical rain of frogs and toads, Cabernet can stand up to just about anything. We’ll see.