Happy Spring! At last we are getting some warm temperatures at Chaumette, however from a purely viticultural standpoint, I am glad that the cold temperatures have lasted as long as they have. Because of these cold temperatures, the buds on the grapevines look like they did in mid-winter. “Normal” bud break for Chardonel is around the middle of April. In our disastrous weather year of 2012 we had bud break on March 22nd and a killing frost on April 12th. The delay of any signs of new growth this year are certainly welcome, because the later we have bud break, the less the chance of frost damage.
Nothing happens metabolically in a grapevine until temperatures exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, things start to change. Dormant buds begin to swell in preparation for bud break. There is, however, a second factor that affects bud break. Day length affects the emergence from dormancy for all woody plants. Believe it or not, there is a mechanism in grapevines that recognizes the gradual increase in day length that will initiate the emergence from dormancy even if it remains cold. This reaction works in conjunction with rising temperatures and will not trigger emergence from dormancy by itself. Extremely high temperatures at this time of year can trigger an acceleration of bud break. That happened in 2012. In the period leading up to March 22nd, 2012, we experienced two weeks of high temperatures in the 80’s that triggered bud break. While it has been inconvenient and unpleasant, from a viticultural standpoint, I am thankful that we have had a cold spring.
Construction on the new villa suites building (suites #25 and #26) continues at a rapid pace. We expect to have the roof in place the first part of next week. This will increase the number of bedrooms within the villas and suites at The Villages at Chaumette to twenty-five. Hopefully this increase will help reduce the size of our waiting list this summer.
We were thrilled to support the KWMU National Public Radio event Talk, Toast, Taste once again this year, held at The Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis. Our 2010 Vintage Port was selectedto be served with the dessert course, and we were delighted that The Four Season’s Executive Chef requested additional port to be used in the preparation of the poached pear dessert. Yes, the pears were poached in our port, and it made for an absolutely splendid food and wine pairing!
Thank you all for joining us our Annual Spring Winemaker’s Dinner last weekend, and it was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces! Winemaker Mark Baehmann, Executive Chef Adam Lambay and Events Director Keith King and his team outdid themselves once again. The meal was delicious, the wines extraordinary, and Jackie and I felt very proud of our team.
We had our first wedding of the season a couple of weeks ago at The Barn at Chaumette, and we are so excited to be in the midst of wedding season once again! Hosting these joyous life occasions means a great deal to us, and we always look forward to this time of year!
In additional wedding news, we have added airbrush makeup services to the menu of services at The Spa at Chaumette, with bridal parties in mind, and we are also in the process of installing additional lighting in The Barn parking area.
We’ve lots of exciting things happening at Chaumette within the next month or so! We just released our 2013 vintage Unoaked Chardonel and Rosé, we now offer Brunch on Sundays, Chef Adam has rolled out terrific spring menus at our Grapevine Grill, live entertainment on Saturdays begins in May, and we will be hosting our Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch on Sunday, April 20th!
Best of all, spring is here, and we look forward to enjoying it with you very soon!