Tag Archives: EMTU

Duh…Don’t Buy Extra Spools of Tie designed to Erode!

tie spool

Just a quick post on vine tying and buying the correct wire.  Two years ago a friend of mine and fellow winemaker, John Mason,  invested in a Pellanc Tie Tool. Has made tying vines to the wires much easier.

When you tie vines you need to pick out the correct wire.  Tie wire for the Pellanc comes in 4 grades based on how long it will last in the field.  For cane pruned vines you only want the ties to last 1 year and then be able to pull the canes from the wires easily.  I used the second softest grade of wire, the first softest tends to jam in the tool.

I learned an obvious but good lesson this year.  Since the wire is designed to fall apart after 1 year, get new spools every year.  What you see above and in detail below is the tie wire that I left in the tool since last spring.  Notice how the cover has come off the wire.  I didn’t change the spool and it jammed and didn’t work.  Took me about 15 minutes to realize why….duh, you need a new spool, the old one is doing what it was designed to do, fall apart after a year!  Good thing I only had one spool leftover from 2015.  FYI…I will use 9 of these spools in my boutique vineyard and take me about 12 hours to tie.

Tie wire

Tying Vines with a New Pellanc Tying Tool

Pellenc close

Last year I used a Tapener to tie the canes to the wires.  Imagine doing this 10,000 times and using brown tape.  This year my friend, John Mason at EMTU Estates, and I decided to purchase a Pellanc Tie tool and share the expense.  Why share?  You only have to tie once per year and the tool is expensive.  The advantages of this tool are that it is at least 3x faster than by hand and you can use biodegradable twist ties.  In addition you save yourself the exposure to carpal tunnel syndrome, which is prevalent due to performing the same task over and over in the  vineyard.  Just for me…I have 3130 vines…so you do the same thing many times.

As you can see the tool’s energy is supplied by a battery pack that you belt on…and all you do is load a very long tie that is cut when you pull the trigger.  The battery is supposed to last 10,000 pulls…or almost enough to do my entire vineyard.  However, given the monotonous nature of tying, I will probably only do a few hours at a time until I finish in about 10 hours.


De-stemming grapes for our own wine – Generously donated grapes

IMG_5373We are going to try and make our own wine this year. We went today to EMTU to pick about 70 pounds of grapes and use the kit that our nephew gave us to make 6 gallons of wine (30 bottles). We hope we will have some wine to drink in about a year. This will be the first of 3 practice batches before we have our own grapes.

Chris took this picture of all of use doing it the old fashioned way, taking the grapes off the rachis (stems) by hand. We then put them in the white food grade 20 gallon pail….tested for and adjusted the acid. We started at 0.65 and we wanted 0.75. We also added about 30 ppm of sulfur. We will let it sit for 2 days and then add yeast for it to ferment. Should take about a week and then we crush.

Pressing Grapes at EMTU with john and chris mason

IMG_5231Last week we helped our friends John and Chris Mason at EMTU pick Pinot noir at their vineyard in Forestville. Today they were kind enough to let us help them with the pressing of 1/2 ton of grapes and barrel them. We all did 2 barrels, or enough for around 550 bottles.

They are doing their wine in small lots so this is a process they will do a few more times in the next couple of weeks. I hope you can see from the pictures that the wine has a wonderful color and I’m sure will make great wine…..you should get some of their 2007 Pinot noir when it comes out in a few months as it is very special.IMG_5233

EMTU Harvest – they seem to have the recipe to grow Pinot

IMG_5231We spent Tuesday morning with John and Chris Mason at their vineyard, EMTU. They grow organic Pinot noir (clones 115 and Pommard) as well as some Merlot. I am now getting information from my class and friends on the Harvest and most places seem to be down 20-40% from last year. But not at EMTU from what we can tell. The fruit was fully formed and has a wonderful taste. They are experimenting this year doing a little at home so we picked about 1/2 a ton with them. Nothing like being out in the vineyard with good friends picking grapes. I’m sure if we had to do it for 8 hours/day for $2/tub we would not have the same feeling.IMG_5233