Toward Spring - Or, Signs and Wonders

The spring equinox is days away, and it shows. Not shy, spring.

Exhibit A: Life Finds a Way

Seed remnants, swept away into gravel and forgotten; but alive, stretching toward the sun

 Pressing fermented grapes is messy business. No matter how much you sweep, spray and scoop afterward, those tiny seeds are designed to find the even tinier nooks where they can put down roots and throw up a March bloom, and then: live, live! We see it every year – the unmistakable shape of the leaves, the impossibly reedy stalk, the saucy determination ... a seedling grapevine in a parking lot? It may not – well, it won't – last, but it means to do so, every second it can. That counts for a great deal, to me.

Exhibit B: Wild Mustard

See the hints of yellow on the hills? Just getting started.

One of the most glorious things about the days before spring officially arrives in California is the wild mustard that blooms all the way up the entire state. The vibrant yellow flowers bear their own legend, inextricably woven with the state's history of winemaking; the tale goes that Padre Junipero Serra and his band of mission-building, vineyard-planting friars scattered seeds on their way northward from San Diego, to indelibly mark El Camino Real with March- and April-borne fields of gold.

Exhibit C: Unbroken Buds ... Because Winter Hasn't Left Us, Just Yet

Hold on. Wait, just a bit longer. Your time will come, must come.

Spring isn't shy, but it isn't impudent, either. No, nature understands it's best to hold on to her most precious things until they have the strongest chance of survival. And so, while vines in some areas already have burst forth with green growth (à la our asphalt specimens), our cool-climate vineyards are clasping tight to their treasures within. Still, one day, soon, the irreversible must happen, and the countdown to harvest must begin.

A new vintage, a new story, nestles in the cleft.

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