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I’m out in the rain again. I just have to see for myself – all this driving rain has had to have an impact. And so I’m walking through the Chardonnay, inspecting leaves and bunches. Overnight the leaf cover seems to have doubled in volume. Everything looks to be in top shape, with the exception of a few scattered leaves with tiny rips in them.  Was that caused by wind and rain?

The block I’m replanting is mostly soggy. I stay on the higher ground and replace about fifty plants. The rain intensifies and the wind starts to sting and then hailstones are snapping against my neck. I take cover under an ancient Peppermint tree and when it passes walk to the mini lake in the middle of the block. Everything is underwater and rain is forecast for several weeks to come. In a moment of desperation/inspiration I poke a dozen cuttings deep into the water, like I’m planting rice in a paddy. My bet is that the block will dry out and that they will take root. We’ll see.

The Chardonnay leaves have that vibrant early green color that only comes in the first flush of Springtime. They almost shimmer in the rain. They’ve survived this tiny fusillade of hail, the imperious gusting of wind, the relentless pounding of rain. They are way more resilient than I expected they would be, and are thriving.

And now the first flush of budburst is gripping the Malbec as well. Roused by the energy of Spring, this part of the vineyard is wakening. The smallest of leaves are emerging, delicate and perfectly formed. They are so different in aspect and color and energy and in the way they unfold from the Chardonnay, literally two meters away...

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