Dear Friends of Bergström Wines,
Maybe, just like you, I am spending a lot of time searching the changing sky, the fragrant cherry blossoms, the sprouting daffodils and the singing birds for inspiration. Isn’t it sadly ironic that everything that is going on right now is being framed by the beautiful background of a bursting spring season? Spring has always represented awakening or rebirth, innocence, growth, and potential. Maybe that’s the key to creating a sense of stability in this time of change. Now is the time to look to nature for the consistency and inspiration that we need.
With so much of the world on pause, our vineyards are unaware of the shift. They do not stop their relentless progression towards another vintage and a harvest that will be here before we know it. Right now, in our five estate vineyards, our pruning work is complete. The fruiting canes for this year’s growth are tied to the steel fruiting wires, and their buds are swelling and almost ready to burst into bright green foliage, given the opportunity of warmth and sunshine.
Our farming team: Sarah, Nick, Mayo, Félipe, and Leo spent the last weeks and months building soil enriching compost on all of our sites. To create our compost, we combine organic cow manure, organically-farmed straw, and shredded grapevine canes from pruning time. The resulting ten-foot tall piles begin to ferment quickly and generate so much heat that you can see the steam rising off them on cold mornings. We also spend part of spring mowing the tall rye grasses, mustard, and clover growing between the vines. Another sign of spring is that ladybugs are everywhere! The miniature daisies that pepper our cover crop are in bloom, daffodils and dandelions have enjoyed their time in the sun, and chamomile is next in line to blossom. In response to this array of blooms, our vineyard bees and pollinators can be seen on every possible flower, gathering pollen and nectar to reinvigorate their hives. The local hazelnut trees are leafing out, and the birds of prey are soaring through the vine rows looking for food and building new nests for their bright future this year.
I will often say that every season is my favorite season, but spring is special. When you live in a beautiful, little corner of the world where seasonality is apparent, it is important to stop and take the time to watch it unfold. Right now, our vineyards are poised for whatever the year brings, and we are here in the fields, on our tractors, and in the cellar laying forth a plan for an agricultural year based on hope and hard work, despite what is happening in our personal lives and societies. The fear of not knowing is something that farmers are historically used to year after year. It is actually what makes the human condition so sweet. We simply have to prepare for the worst, work towards the best, and always, optimistically, hope for a miracle. That was my business plan since day one when my mom and dad tapped my shoulder and asked me to lead our family business forward. I like to think that it has served me well so far.
Visiting our vineyards on a daily basis is restorative for me, yet these moments are now brief rather than sprawling and relatively carefree, as were the days a month or two ago. These days we spend a lot more of our time at home working remotely and adjusting to a new rhythm of daily life. Caroline and I have spent the last 4 evenings at home, enjoying cocktail hour with friends from around the state and nation via Skype or Zoom, or any other platform that allows us to see each other, talk, exchange ideas, and know that the ones we love are doing well. Heck, just yesterday we had drinks at noon with our friends in France, who are on lock-down. (Noon was to accommodate their time zone, of course, NOT because we wanted to drink at noon…. Maybe… I could be getting this wrong now.) These electronic meetings have been restorative, and I encourage you all to reach out to the ones you love and those with whom have not talked to in a long time. They need you now. And we all need each other.
As we find ourselves stuck inside a lot these days and walking our dogs five times a day worrying about the unknown, take comfort in one certainty: spring is upon us and the world around us is blossoming with new life and new hope that cannot be slowed down or stopped. The orchards and fields are ready to bear fruit and grain, and the vineyards are prepared to grow and flourish. Another bounty of wines that we will someday share together is on its way, and we look forward to enjoying the comfort of friends and family closer than six feet away and not via an electronic signal or cable.
Be safe out there and take care!