We have expanded the vineyard another 5 acres this year! We added 4 acres of Montepulciano and another acre of Aglianico. Both are Italian red varieties and make full bodied, dark red wines. I would have to say that harvest is definitely the most exciting time of year but planting is the next! The whole family joins in and our second oldest son and his wife even came up from El Paso to get in on the fun!
The weather was beautiful although a bit nippy, unlike last year when we were in shorts for planting. We had already added the drip irrigation tape which is underground between the rows. Each row had been marked with GPS to know exactly where to plant the vines. So, on Friday morning, we were ready to get started.
The vines arrived on Thursday in 2 large FedEx boxes. Inside the boxes, the vines are in bundles of 25 plants and covered with sawdust to keep them moist. It is amazing that these little twigs grow into such beautiful grapevines!
The planter has 2 seats along with a platform in front of the seats. Enough grapevines are placed on the platform for 3 rows – each row is 1/3 mile long.
Two people sit on the platform handing the planters the vines. The planters alternately place a vine on each mark and the shank below the planter (the covering shank) covers the vine with dirt as it goes along.
In the picture below, you can see another drip tape is also planted alongside the vines. We call this the sacrificial drip tape because it will only be used for the first year or two. After a couple of years, the grapevine roots will have grown to cover the area between the rows. The packing wheels are designed to crush any air pockets that are around the roots.
The grapevines almost blend into the dirt once they are planted!
From a distance, you can not see the new vines and it just looks like freshly ripped rows!
Now, for us, it is back to pruning – we have about 4 acres of heavy pruning left!