Except for cleaning and storing barrels, all of our activities are now focused on the vineyard. The vines are thriving so far with very little sign of disease, but with all this rain, it will be a challenge to hold the line on fungus problems. The unexpected problem we had late this spring showed up in hundreds of tear marks on the leaves, due to the horrific hale storm we had a few weeks ago. It tore up many of the leaves, although thankfully, not the new little clusters, which are just starting to look like embryonic grapes. Also, we lost several vines to the bad winter, especially the young Merlot vines, but we have already removed the dead vines and planted a couple hundred new ones.
Then, the last of 2013’s problems were the hungry deer, which jumped our tall electrified fence and ate as many of our grapes as they could at the end of the season, just when the grapes are nice and sweet. We have devised a stick and wire addition for the top of our fencing that will make it difficult for the deer to judge whether they can jump the fence or not. We’ll put it up and see how well it works. If it does, I will share our “invention” with our fellow growers.
We are busy training the young merlot plants so they will form a proper trellis between the wires this year. We will also keep training and clipping the mature plants, and leaf pruning as the summer goes on so the wind can pass through the plants and dry them out after the rain, and so there will be enough leaves to feed the grape clusters. These plants need constant attention, but despite all the challenges, it is definitely a labor of love.
Now, we just need Mother Nature to cooperate and not send us too much rain this summer!
From the Vineyard,