We have been very busy in our vineyard this spring, and this update is long overdue! Springtime and warm weather hit early this spring, starting bud break on all of our varieties early. We started our spring pruning mid-March and the weather was W-A-R-M! But, it did cause a bit of a rush to get the pruning completed as quickly as possible. But, my mom and I can only prune 1100 vines so fast!! :)
In the spring, we prune about 70% or more from the vine that wintered from the year before. If you can imagine a major haircut on every vine, you would be picturing it right! We leave the trunk of the vine and cut it down for it to grow through the spring and summer season.
There is a saying with grapes...they grow if you prune too little and they grow if you prune too much...either way they still grow! But, in our case, you do want to prune correctly in the spring to ensure the best crop possible in the fall.
Then, the C-O-L-D weather hit!! And, yes, our Marquette (a red variety) and our La Crescent (a white variety) did endure frost damage. Some of our other varieties had a little bit of damage here and there, but for the most part were fine. Our two hardest hit varieties are coming back now, and we hope to still have a good crop.
We finished our spring pruning of all 1100 plants a couple weeks ago. We would have been done sooner, but we also have some other business and personal endeavours that are keeping us as busy as ever. :) One project would never be enough, so we decided to start some other businesses, move, and have another baby...you know, minor things. :)
And, since I am 7 months pregnant, some of the usual tasks prove to be a little more difficult on my back. :) So, my mom has been doing more than her share in the vineyard. But, I'll make sure and catch up my end of the work load in the coming seasons! It's a long range vision, so I plan to catch up on more than my share of work as my little ones get a little bigger. But, they love going to Mama and Papa's while I work in the grapes just as much as I enjoy being out there. :) You can't really beat the system we have...family helping family.
Our vines are looking great, with a range of a few inches to over 18 inches of shoot growth already (shoot growth is the new green growth from this year.) We can already see the tiny grape clusters on all of our vines, which is always exciting.
We have already sprayed a dormant spray for the vines, weed control, and our first round of fungicides, so it's coming right along. We also have some trellis maintenance to complete this spring. Even though this blog is a little out of date photo-wise, we have been taking photos throughout the spring and we will be passing them on to you.
We're excited for the year...we have most of the equipment now and instead of playing catch-up, we are thinking ahead...which is a first!! It's a great feeling, and the vineyard shows it. Feel free to slow down when you're driving by or honk...we usually can't tell who is honking from the vineyard, but we wave nonetheless! :)
Til next time!