For most of our vines, this will be their fourth year since
they were planted. The root systems have had three years to develop and the vine
trunks of the more robust vines are getting close to two centimeters in diameter.
Last year, although I had hoped to get my first fruit, I made a strategic
decision to force the root systems to grow. While the vines were healthy and
green through the year, the result was that the vines just could not pull enough
water to help the grapes ripen -- and so I grew a bunch of unripe raisins.
This year, I have many key learnings to apply as I really do
intend to get a first real crop. Here's the plan for the year:
March: Prune vines back to two fruiting canes. If not
possible due to uneven growth, then leave at least several renewal spurs so
that I will have some options.
April: Watch closely. For vines where I may have left an
extra cane, make a decision by the end of the month and prune the extra
May: Start cane positioning to make sure that the vines
are growing through the vertical trellis system. Start applying organic
spray regimen to prevent onset of mildew.
June: Continue cane positioning and spray regimen. Pull a
few shoots to start to manage the canopy for open air. Reduce grape clusters
to between 4-6 per fruiting cane so that remaining grapes can mature.
July: Continue cane positioning and spray regimen. Pull
leaves, where necessary to ensure that grape clusters are not completely
shaded as this should help them get color during veraison.
August: Manage vigor of the overall canopy. By the end of
the month, ensure that netting is in place to protect the grapes from the
birds and other neighborhood critters.
September: Watch and wait until ripe. My site is a little
warmer than other areas in Puget Sound so, if everything is ripe by the 3rd
or 4th week in September, it should be time to have the first real harvest!
Check back later and see how I did in keeping up with this!
Through the creation of our vineyard, we
relied on three books: From Vines to Wines
gave us the incentive and basic information;
The Grape Grower is a great book on planting as well as pest
management and fertilizers; and Oregon
Viticulture offers the most in-depth knowledge of managing the vineyard.
Read about the rest of the background behind our vineyard. This
description will be updated as we achieve each next level. (The current chapter
is listed in red.)
Time For Planting. We got the vines! Read
about our planting and first year of growing. We are currently still in the
middle of this year and will be updating this section periodically.
The First Year. Once we planted the
wines, we still had a lot of work to do in the first year to ensure that they
would be healthy and make it into their second year.
The Second Year. The vines made it
through the first summer and winter. This year, we're watching for solid
growth as the vines continue to establish their roots.
Here are the resources that we relied on for research.
The Wine Enthusiast is a great source of glassware, serving and
preservation systems, in addition to self-contained wine cellars and other wine
storage options. If you're not sure what you need, the company offers a list of 'Recommended' items that cover a wide range of needs
through their home page.
Serving and preserve your wine, from the most elegant decanters
to chillers, coasters, drip savers and more. When we want wine by the glass
(when we don't think we'll finish a bottle), we use the
which automatically fills the bottle with nitrogen to preserve the wine.