Unbelievable, it’s the middle of February and the vineyard is a winter wonderland after the 8 inches of snow last weekend. It was so drifted in some areas we couldn’t get our utility vehicles down the rows. Our vineyard crew helped out at the winery bottling and barreling wine. This was much appreciated by Dennis and his crew as they have been making wine and bottling almost non-stop in order to keep up with high demand.
We finally did get out to the vineyard and we were met by a strange forest of posts that you can see here.
This forest is actually part of our trellis system for the 15 acres we are planting this year. You can see that we still have a little work to do (some posts on the ground). These are the end posts which we put in at an a 60 degree angle for anchoring the wires. They are 5-6 inches in diameter and 10 feet long. They don’t always go all the way in because of limestone bedrock that can be as close as 18 inches below the surface. Since December we have pounded almost 3000 posts. It is quite a chore, but it makes growing vines the first year a lot easier.
Planting vines is just like putting in a garden. My wife Katie says you need to till down a good 18 inches to prepare the soil and we do the same for our grapevines. Before we subsoil we sample and adjust the soil chemistry so that it is grape friendly. We also like to have our fields “equipment friendly” and we do this right from the beginning during the layout of the fields. Straight rows make it a lot easier to work on the grapevines mechanically after they are mature. We do this using a laser and long tape measures. It prevents damage to the vines as well as the equipment. This year the row lengths are moderate, only 200 to 450 feet long. Our longest rows were the ones that I put in when I started back in 2000, they are 620 feet long. Those rows can take almost half a day to do canapy work by hand during the summer, hence the need for mechanical devices.
We are all excited about the coming year and I want to put a pitch in here at the end to let people know that we are hiring our seasonal help for the vineyard to start the 1st of April. Click here for more information about seasonal vineyard positions.