Last week we took time off from vineyard work to help our oldest son and daughter-in-law who are building an ICF (insulated concrete forms) house on their land that adjoins ours. While we took a break, the vines did not – they keep on growing!
We had made it completely through all the varieties in the vineyard tucking for canopy management. If you remember, the shoots and leaves are the canopy. To help with pest control (insects and bugs) and to make harvesting easier, we work to have controlled upward growth utilizing our trellising system. Above the cordon wire, we have guide wires at 5 ft and 6 ft on which the tendrils of the shoots can grab and grow upward. The shoots that do not grab hold to these wires, we tuck up into the wires to prevent them from sprawling downward into the vine row.
It is amazing and exciting to see the growth the vines have done in the past month since we last tucked them. After the late freezes we had, we were unsure about the health of the vines but they certainly seem to have recovered. You can see from the photo above, the vines growing out into the vine row – you can get claustrophobic just walking down it.
The photo below shows the rows after the vines have been tucked – they look so much cleaner!
We are able to tuck about 1 1/3 acres per day. So, although it is slow progress is being made!
This year, we have had marble size fruit and blooms right beside each other. This is very unusual. Normally the vines put out all their blooms fairly close to each other which makes harvest easier since most of the fruit ripens simultaneously. But, for whatever reason, this year the vines have kept on blooming.
We have maturing fruit beside blooms! This may seem like a good thing – more fruit right? In reality, it means that the crop will not ripen at the same time yielding a poorer quality. The Brix or amount of sugar in the grapes will be high in the more mature fruit but very low in the young. So, overall, the Brix will be low with a lot of green (unripe) characteristics. To compensate, we are planning to allow the grapes that are larger now to ripen and raisin while the younger fruit gets riper. Hopefully, this will balance out the Brix in the grapes yielding a better quality wine.
Farming sure is exciting!