As they say…..to make a small fortune in the wine business you have to start with a large fortune. This is so true when you start with bare land. We met with Greg Adams today to plan our 1.1-1.3 acre vineyard. Right now the normal spacing for Pinot Noir is 7’ x 5’. 7’ is so tractors can go down the rows and make it easier for cultivation. 6’ can be done with small tractors but when you get to 5’ or even 3 1/2 feet, then you either need to use ATV’s or very special equipment. We have opted for 5’ rows as we have a very small piece of land. The space between rows allows you to add vines without adding much cost. Studies have shown that smaller spacing is better to allow the vines to go down for water but much less than 3 1/2 feet there is not much benefit. Again, we have opted for small spacing at 3 1/2 feet.
The rule of thumb is that for very foot below 7’ you add 10% in cost and for every foot below 5’ you add 5% in cost for vines. The benefit for the grape harvest is not linear but you can expect a better quality grape since you are stressing them with tight spacing.
Clone selection for us is to put in a variety that will fit our land with shading on the south end of the plot. We have chosen 3309 rootstock with 115 and Pommard Pinot. 115 is lighter and fruiter and Pommard gives the Pinot body.
We hope with tight spacing, good rootstock and clones and tender loving care that the wines will come out world class.
Lastly, we are looking at orientation in the field. In an ideal world you should plant north/south so that the sun will hit both sides of the rows. We would rather plant east/west for the view from the house…..so we will see who wins.