Monthly Archives: July 2011

How to Prevent Weeds?

P1060767If you have been reading any of the entries the last year, you know that the hardest part of the vineyard so far is weed control. Well, last week I attended a meeting where a new product was show. In essence, what the product is made of is recycled paper and compost, cut into rolls or circles or squares. As you can see in the picture you put this around the vine and it will help keep out weeds. I’m thinking of putting them around all the vines as circles and then top it with mulch to keep the weeds out of the vine rows. I think that would be the least work for the most weed control…and perhaps it will save 200+ hours of weeding next year. I think putting out 50’ rolls and cutting each of them is to much work.

So how much…..I figure about $1,000 in carbdoard/compost and 60 yards of mulch for $700, plus the time to put them on.

Take care of them they will take care of you

P1060637One of the big things that seem obvious but make all the difference in the world, is to pay attention to the vines. We have 4 sections of about 800 vines in each section. Two sections have Pommard and two have 667 (clones of Pinot noir). Before last week I fertilized all of the sections twice….but this time I only fertilized three of the sections. Why??? Well, the goal of the vineyard is to have all the plants grow and produce grapes that harvest at the same time……so when you look at the pictures below you will see differences in the vines that I hope to correct in the next few years. One section is growing very well but the other three are not as vigorous. So….here is what I’m doing:

Section 1 – Clone 667 and furthest east – these plants are healthy but the rootstock was not as big as the Pommard. They will get extra liquid fertilizer this year and solid fertilizer in the spring and I plan on only 2 clusters per vine in 2012. In addition I will prune the oak trees that overhand the eastern section of the property and shade the vines in the morning.

Section 2 – Clone 667 and furthest east – same as Section 1…..some of these vines are a little healthier since they get more sun than Section 1, so on some of these I will put on 4 clusters in 2012.

Section 3 – Pommard – very healthy plants. I plan putting 4 clusters per vine in 2012 as these are very healthy and will balance the vines.

Section 4 – Pommard – good trunk vine growth but they are exhibiting a deficiency as seen by the leaf color. Most likely this is potassium. We took sample of the good plants vs the deficient plants on 7/15 and will find out for sure in a few weeks. In addition, these vines are over the septic system so they probably did not get enough lime/gypsum and were only ripped to 2’ instead of 4’. So this winter I will correct for the deficiency, add gypsum and only allow 2 cluster per vine.

2012….our 3rd Leaf… our first harvest. I’m guessing that we will get around 1500 lbs of grapes…..or 1 1/2 barrels……40 cases. If all goes well by 2013 we should be up to 6 barrels if I can keep the vines happy!!! Then 10 barrels in 2014.

July Work – In The Heat!!!

P1060770Hot, hot and more hot!!! We started July with 90+ weather for the first 5 and probably 6 days… even got to 98 on July 3rd.

There was a report in the paper that the number of days above 90 will double by 2025 and will hurt the premium wine industry in Sonoma/Napa. I’m hoping that with our close spacing and planting 42 degrees from N/S we will be in better shape than most vineyards… least that was the original plan……quality and planning for the future!

Since it was a holiday weekend, we did some quiet work……tying vines. I’ll hopefully mow for one of the last times on the 5th and then fertilize the 2 sections on the east end of the property later this week. My guess is that about 1/2 of the vines are now cut to 3’……hopefully the rest will get there in the next month since they stop growing soon.

July 4 – 4 hours tying
July 5 – 4.3 hours tying/mowing
July 6 – 2 hours tying/pruning
July 7 – 1 hours tying/pruning
July 12 – 6 hours tying/mowing/fertilizing (Sections 1,2 and 4 only…..3 is doing well)
July 13 – 1 hour fertilizing
July 14 – 1 hour with wine maker
July 26 – Watering 3 hours each section

Nonna’s White Wine

front vineyardTwo months ago we planted Sauvignon Blanc in the front yard. They started out as bench grafted root stock and now they are good looking plants! I think they grew faster than the Pinot noir in the back. These in the front will be trained as cordons… we think they look prettier in the winter. So…..looks like 2013 will be the first harvest for white wine, with a bottle available early in 2014, about the same time as the Pinot noir!!!

Also note that the front won’t have any weeds due to weed cloth and red bark. I wish I had that in the back……would save me a lot of time!!!

By the way…..Nonna is Italian for Grandmother in case you didn’t know.