Monthly Archives: May 2011

Trellis Wires

P1060039Most of my vines in the west end of the vineyard are >3.5’ tall. As you can see in the picture, the rebar is 3’ tall. When they get to 4.5-5’ tall then I will cut them to 30” tall so they will go into a little shock and put more shoots horizontally…..which will be canes for next years crop. I was going to put up the wires in the next few weeks, but right now I’m in no hurry. If I tie them up at 3’, then they will have support and I don’t need wires unless we get a big wind. That is not likely… I will put them up when I get to them this summer. Hope my plan works! By next year I need to put up a fruit wire and 2 trellis wires.

Powdery Mildew or Botrytis?

P1050820The good news is that the vines are growing rapidly. They need to reach at least 4.5’ this year so that those shoots will become the trunks for next years plants. The pommard vines on the west end of the vineyard are growing very well, with the average at least 3’ tall already. We have several that are over 5’ tall. On the east end with the 667 clone, the plants average a little less than 3’ tall due to the smaller roots when we planted and also they get a little less sun. In the next week or so I have to put up a trellis wire at 4’ so that the vines have something to hold on to while they grow.

A new issue is that the top 3 small leaves are dying and falling off. I now have to do some investigative work to figure out if it is powdery mildew or botrytis. Both are common to our area with the mildew early in the season and botrytis later in the season normally. So far the vines are outgrowing the issue….so right now it seems to be botrytis. Not good but not a disaster. I will spray this week with more stylet oil to fix this issue and do that weekly for the remainder of the season.

The picture on the left is powdery mildew and on the right is botrytis from stock photos. So…..ours looks to be botrytis.


ctw2011052100475Terroir in wine as well as life is a “sense of place”. It embodies a certain characteristic quality, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the entity. For wine this means the soil, climate, vine type and care given to the vineyard naturally, not with man made forces. That is why I believe the best grapes come from organic vineyards that are tended for lovingly.

For those of you only interested in wine, it is not necessary to read on……On Saturday May 21, we had a ceremony to bury my Mom in Nebraska. She was buried next to her parents in Ravenna, NE. Fourteen years ago my Dad was buried next to his brother and sisters in White Salmon, WA. Both families, along with my immediate family, are amazing and give me a sense of place that has shaped my life completely.

I hope our wine from the Turtle Vines vineyard is half as good as the family terroir that shaped it!

My nephew Cody gave an incredibly moving speech of what his grandmother meant to him. I have put it below.

What was always so clear to me was that I loved her and she loved me. There was …neither question nor condition. For me, she will always be wrapped up in a thousand generous memories. Wrapped up in a warm fondness never to fall tepid, wrapped up in the fabric of ideals that I have learned to be the meaning of family, wrapped up in that white baby blanket she sowed me that I loved till it was the likes of a tattered dish rag. In the house on Ken Lake Drive, she will always be the late night figure in the kitchen reading the newspaper keeping abreast of the world’s current events, the TV on, Sherlock Holmes or Xena in the background, maybe a bowl of cereal. This was grandma’s house. This was Thanksgiving and birthdays and Christmas, this was grandma’s cat who walks through doors, these were grandma’s books, these were grandma’s games, these were grandma’s stacks of papers and her angel trinkets, these were grandma’s photos, my photos. The Puyallup fair, African violet conventions, a summer in London, being silly, laughing, learning, these were the memories of my childhood – inseparable.
I think of her there at my sporting games, my plays, my graduations, all those milestones we like to celebrate. She was there. And much later on whether Washington rain or Californian sun, it was weekly afternoon rendezvous and Sunday meals. I would come with root beer and flowers, and perhaps steal her away into my impossibly low seated Honda Civic to olive garden, keeping her out way past residence curfew. And she would be there to listen, her hard working hands transformed into beautiful oak tree roots folded in her lap. And I was there to hear her reply, “grandma tell me about the day you first met grandpa” tell me about what it was like when you were growing up” “tell me all the things, I’ll never get to know of otherwise if you should pass away. And here we are.
I know why we got along so well – she was a woman out for adventure, out for the opportunity to learn, an observer and caregiver, a critical but compassionate thinker. She was live and let live, a dinner napkin of wisdom. She was collecting experiences and sharing her life along the way with all of us. I cannot imagine anyone fitting more to the embodiment and idea of sister, mother, grandmother and I will never forget or take for granted what having her in my life has meant to me.

May work

rain 5 17 11

As you can see from the picture above, we have all the vines now tied to the rebar. Some of them are already 3.5’ tall. When they get to 4.5’ I’ll cut them off to 30” in preparation for cane pruned grapes next year! Speaking of them growing fast…….I need to add my 4’ wire in a few weeks so they have something to hang on to while they are growing.

Lastly, below is a list of hours and activities for May. In case you are keeping track…..128 hours for Doug this year and 107 hired (if you don’t count the 24 hours of tree trimming)

Totals for May – Doug….47.5 hours…..hired…..23 2/3 hours

May 31 – 2.5 hours mowing/weeding
May 30 – 1.5 hours spraying
May 26 – 1.5 hours weeding
May 25 – 2 1/4 hours weeding/whacking/mowing
May 24 – 4 hours weeding/mowing/wires/setting up irrigation
May 23 – 2 hours mowing and weeding
May 17 – 3 hours spraying
May 16 – 2 hours mowing
May 12 – 1 hour planting dormants to replace nursery row plants
May 11 6.5 hours shoot thinning and replants and 13 hours hired ($180)
May 10 – 5 1/3 hours shoot thinning and 10 2/3 hired shoot thinning ($130)
May 9 – 4 hours shoot thinning
May 6 – 1 hours gopher training
May 5 – 6 hours …. 1 mowing, 1 digging, 1 shoot thinning, 1 spreading fertilizers, 2 front vineyard
May 4 – 3 hours digging and getting compost for front yard
May 3 – 2 hours tying, thinning

Replants – nursery row pictured above

nursery row

~10 from weed whacking
~5 from gophers
14 from being seconds at the Nursery and didn’t grow
26 just didn’t grow for some reason even though we considered them”1”’s

So I had a 1 year total failure rate of 1.8%. The ones that we deemed seconds were much higher….probably around 5%. It was also very interesting, but not surprising, that the ones we planted that had bigger roots did better both from a dead on arrival and how the vines look this year. Both of them were on rootstock 101-14, but for some reason the pommard clone was healthier when they arrived than the 667 clone.

I had planned on some not growing, so I planted 25 extra plants of each clone in nursery rows. I will use these first as they are healthy vines that will grow very quickly….perhaps enough so that I can get a trunk this year. The pommard clone has enough of these so I didn’t have to buy anymore….but the 667 had a lot of seconds so I purchased 50 more of these. Some will go into the field and some will become nursery vines for next year.

Sauvignon Blanc comes to Turtle Vines

sb 7 3 11Yes, you have all been reading about the 3150 Pinot noir vines we have in the back yard. Well, we are adding a little variety to Turtle Vines. We are planting 29 Sauvignon Blanc vines in the front of the house. (29 is Joey’s lucky number and Sauvignon Blanc is her favorite wine.) When they reach maturity, it should give us 4 cases of wine to drink. We have the rebar and location of the plants set. On Tuesday we will plant these and get them off on a good start.

I will baby these this year with a lot of compost and fertilizer to see if I can get them caught up with the Pinor noir in the back. A challenge, but I think we are up to the task. If I can do it, we may even be able to get a few grapes in 2012 !!!