It was fortuitous that we finished the pruning before the spring lambs came along. This is the first year we have had both to tend to, and it would have been nearly impossible to do equal justice to either had they been upon us together.
Perhaps I have forgotten, but I do not remember a time last year when there wasn't something urgent that needed tending to in the vineyard. But this year, it feels different, like we are actually one step ahead of the game! Looking back, it was about this time of year when we first discovered the rust colored spots (Black Rot!) on many of the leaves. Within a couple weeks, they were everywhere, and this all happened in the midst of our daughter's wedding. It's no wonder I felt we would never catch up. We did not spray a chemical for the Black Rot. We pulled as many leaves as we could and hauled them away. But as you know, this year we will have our first crop and we cannot afford to lose it, so "a spraying we will go"... but only the bare minimum. We continue to spray our Biodynamic preps, add our compost and generally treat the vineyard as an organic, sustainable organism, the only difference being we must spray a conventional spray for that one disease.
Ready To Bloom!
And To Their Health!
In hopes of raising the healthiest possible vines, I have chosen to spray foliar nutrients on the vines, timing the applications to meet the peak demand during the various stages of plant growth. For example, I am adding a foliar calcium spray while the fruit is setting, as calcium helps to thicken the cell walls, thus helping to thicken the skin of the thin-skinned Pinot Noir grape. This will be important down the road as the tight cluster grows and continues its vulnerability to disease, insects, birds, etc. It certainly will require careful monitoring throughout the season. And I am prepared to stand guard!
Addendum! One of my readers (Thank you, Don!) just sent me this link after reading the blog. Looks like we have an invader! What to do? Offer me your vote.. Leave it or toss it? I think I know what I will do, but would love for you to email me your opinion..
Right now, the vineyard looks absolutely beautiful. The vines stand strong, without demands. Their bright, shiny leaves are healthy and soaking up those rays of sun as they grow up through the trellis wire. Before long they will be through the top wire, at about six feet. At that point it will be time to focus on the all-important canopy management. But for now, their demands are slight. Oh, there are canes to tuck into
Such are the vineyard moments of my dreams.