What a beautiful day to plant 2 acres of Petit Verdot and 1/3 acre Moscato Giallo. The wind was low and the temperature never reached the 90°F forecasted.
The 3,225 vines arrived via FedEx in a large box.
Marking where the vines are to be planted was done the day before. You can see in the picture below the wheels used on the end of the plow.
The tractor scratches across the area to be planted leaving marks perpendicular to the new vine rows.
These marks are 4 ft apart and will be used to correctly space the new vines in the rows. They also line up with the existing vineyard.
As always, getting everything set up took awhile – namely the GPS on the tractor.
We rented a tractor and planting rig from another grape farmer. As you can see it has a place for 4 people (2 actual seats and 2 places on the metal) to sit while planting. Bundles of vines are placed in the front on either side. Two people sit by the vines and hand them to the two people actually placing the vines in the ground.
This planting rig (really an open platform) has a shank which digs a furrow just ahead of where the people planting sit. A vine is place in the furrow on the perpendicular marks, the two sets of wheels pack dirt back into the furrow covering the roots and then two plows fill the furrow and mound up dirt around the trunk of the vine.
Simultaneously and just ahead of the shank, underground drip irrigation tape is laid in the ground to the side of the vines. This tape is only ~4″ deep. Unlike the tape we put in earlier between the rows of vines, this shallow tape will only be used for a couple of years to water the young vines as they grow.
The vines at this point look like little twigs stuck in the dirt. You can see the blue wax still remains covering most of the graft. In a few weeks, Lord willing, they will begin to bud and bits of green will be visible across the rows.