We were fortunate to have Virginia Tech's Grape Pathologist, Dr.Mizuho Nita, come for a visit to check out our vineyard last week. As you know, organic (or near-organic) viticulture practices are rare in Virgina, as well as dense-planting of the vines. To put the two of them together, even rarer. Combine that with the planting of Pinot Noir grapes... unheard of in Virginia, and perhaps the entire East Coast. As Mizuho walked through the vineyard, I noticed him nodding his head a bit. I surmised he was liking what he saw. I think he was impressed by the health of the vines and perhaps a bit surprised to find us essentially disease-free. No phomopsis, no leaf-roll virus, no antracnose, no insect damage... the list is long. And most importantly, no Black Rot! Only a spot here and there, thanks to our two conventional sprays that are considered some of the more enviro-friendly of the conventional sprays.
Fruit Bloom and Days of Gloom
Where the Wild Things Grow
It is obvious in the forests around us that the wild berries loved the heavy dose of nitrogen soaked into the earth this winter by weeks of slow-melting snow. Our crop of wild raspberries and blackberries are going to be amazing. I froze strawberries from last month and will be mixing them into preserves with a combination of our planted blueberries and the wild blackberries and raspberries. The raspberries are ready to burst forth, and the blackberries will follow a couple of weeks behind them. Mmmmm....