Monthly Archives: July 2012

Wasps – OUCH!!!

ground waspsOn Saturday the 7th we had our annual family gathering. The kids were all in the area and all got stung. Matisse (above) who is 6 got stung 4 times. So, I get to my question… wasps have memories?

The spot they were stung is the same location I got stung 10 times 4 years ago when I was excavating a tree trunk. The wasps moved 15 feet to a hive in the vineyard and I boiled them last year. So…they like that location. After the kids all got stung, my friend and I flamed them…..scary, funny video…..wasps and wine don’t mix.

Yesterday I was near the spot where everyone got stung a few weeks ago and got stung 2 or 3 times on my calf, but I wasn’t messing with the hive. My calf and foot are now swollen to about double. Hope it goes down soon. I just wonder if they remembered me burning them and then hitting them with boiling water and excavating them? I guess I would be upset if someone did that to me.

July/Aug Work

best vineWill it be enough? The above picture is perhaps the best looking vine I have in the vineyard. It is going through veraison and I think it is well balanced. I think this vine has 8 clusters. In order to get a ton of wine (enough for a barrel) I have to have 5000 good size clusters.

Unfortunately, many of the vines are small and they don’t have enough leaves for photosynthesis I fear. I hope they ripen with the rest of the vines, or I’ll have to either cut them off or pick them at another time

Turtle Vines has 3130 total vines. I had to start over 380 vines… I only have 2750. Of those, another 300 or so have very few cluster on them. So…..I have to average about 2 clusters per vine to get my barrel….and I have to have a little extra since wine in the barrel evaporates. Going to be close.

July 30 – 2 hours mowing, 1.5 hours pruning/walking for mildew, 2.5 hours chipping
July 31 – 2 hours spraying, 1 hour collecting grow tubes
Aug 2 – 2 hours spraying front and putting in anchors for living fence
Aug 6 – 3 hours picking out vineyard netting
Aug 7 – 1 hours tucking, 2.5 hours putting on highway stake protectors
Aug 8 – 1.5 hours leafing/laterals, 2 hours spraying Serenade and 5# kaligreen in 50 gallons, 2 hours mowing
Aug 9 – 1 hour killing wasps
Aug 10 – 1 hour killing wasps
Aug 11 – 1 hour with net folks


mildewIn Russian River Valley, the weather is perfect for growing Pinot noir, Chardonnay and in some areas Sauvignon blanc. Cool evenings, fog and then warm days. This is also ideal for mildew. Being an organic farmer, you are limited to what you can spray. Suffice it to say, but being organic means I have to spray twice as frequent with material that is more expensive. The key is to spray every week and put on the right chemical at the right time. Last year I didn’t spray enough and had mildew in the middle of the year. This year was much better and I only had about 8 vines with bad mildew. What did I do and learn?

At bud break I sprayed with Serenade and copper 4 times for 4 weeks – I’ll keep this for next year.

Next I sprayed with serenade only until the end of June – Serenade will contol midew but won’t kill it. Next year I’m going to spray with Stylet Oil until veraison.

From veraison until netting, I’m spraying with Serenade and will keep this next year. Near the end of the year I’ll spray with Kaligreen for mildew control in Aug/September.

In addition, throughout the vine/leaf growing season I’m going to spray with Metalosate Multimineral Foliar Spray to help with mineral uptake to the vines.

Why is it so important? First, if the grapes get mildew they will die and infect other grapes. If the vines get midew, it will affect next years clusters and ultimately the harvest. So….a never ending fight but one that has to be won every year.


First grapesVeraison is the term used when red grape varietals actually turn red during growing season. In addition, it is the time when you have to start thinking about netting the vineyard so the birds don’t eat all of your crop.

As you can see from the picture above, we have a few grapes turning red!!!

In about 2-3 weeks I’ll be netting and the sugar content of the grapes will be above 12% so I won’t have to spray anymore. That will be a relief.

We have had a lot more sunshine this year, so I’m anticipating that we will have our first harvest of around 1000 pounds mid-September.