Monday, January 31, 2011

Pre-season work in the vineyard

The job of pruning the vines this year was a long and hard one.  Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little considering I only had a couple of grape vines that had any decent growth last year.  In fact, there were only two vines to prune - a Cabernet Franc and a Mars vine.

I did it earlier this year because last year after I pruned I had a significant amount of sap bleed-out.  From what I've read this occurs if you prune too late because dormant vine has started "waking up."  This year I think I mitigated the issue.

I spent a little time this weekend planning out what I'm going to do this year in the vineyard.  I have decided that I'm going to replace the Syrah and Chardonnay vines.  The Chardonnay hasn't done well at all, and half of the Syrah got killed off by the harsh winter we had in 2009-2010.  I'm replacing them with Regent and Traminette, pending availability.  I have to wait a couple of weeks before I can order vines because we're closing on the house we're purchasing for my Mother-in-Law and all funds are allocated towards the purchase.  Regardless, most places won't even ship the vines until March.

One of the many things I have learned since the initial planning of the vineyard is that whites need to be sheltered more from the late afternoon sun.  As a result, I am going to plant the Regent at the top of the hill where the Chardonnay currently is and where it will get the most afternoon sun. The Traminette will replace the Syrah at the bottom of the hill.

The next maintenance to occur in the vineyard will be spraying the lime-sulpher spray.  I guarantee that you will not want to be hanging around in the backyard while this is happening!  The spray does wonders for disease prevention, but it smells horrible.