The grapes are waking up in the vineyard. This year we are about a week behind last year due to the cool spring. So far winter kill is minimal and the buds look healthy. It's an extremely busy time of year for the farmers in the area, whether they're growing peaches or grapes. Weeds need to be kept under control, irrigation systems need to be seasonalized (and usually cracked pipes need repairing), and it's time to plant. Besides in-fill plantings, in which older vines and blank spaces in the vine rows are replaced by new plantings, we replaced 3/4 of an acre of Orange Muscat with White Riesling. In late March the vines came from the nursery tightly wrapped in bundles. We planted them with spacing of 5 feet in 8 foot rows. This year we'll irrigate in the trench they've been planted to insure plenty of water to their limited root system. It's important that the grapes avoid stress their first year. Next year, with a developed root system the real growing begins. Meanwhile, the dormant buds have come out of their shells and pushed shoots out. We wait anxiously to see what this years canopy will deliver.
Entry by Sam Stetser, Vineyard Manager