Saturday morning Stefania and I set out to check on all the vineyards. We like to do this about every six weeks or so. We’ll visit each one more often than that but it is a good idea to see what is going on everywhere at once to really get an accurate gage of how to schedule upcoming work.
This helps me come up with a vineyard plan for each vineyard for the next six weeks and the priorities not just for each vineyard but for all the vineyards as a whole. We set off about 9 AM to start the inspection tour.
One thing you’ll notice as I go through the pictures is they all look the same! This is actually great. They should look the same. Each vineyard is unique but we apply the same level of care to each one. They should have a certain sameness to them. It’s also good if they are all about on the same maturity schedule and we don’t have anything too far behind or ahead.
Crimson Clover was the first stop. Below is a close up of the fruit clusters. The clusters are loose and we expect a lighter than usual yield here because of some pruning decisions in the winter. There’s a bit more fruit though than we thought we might get and it looks healthy.
The rows are in good shape with almost no weeds. The vineyard needs a little water and a little nitrogen which we will put in the work plan.
Next up was the Peacock Vineyard, which I think we will change soon to calling the ‘Sheredy Yard’. The peacocks have been captured and removed by the county and most of the crew never even saw them. The Sheredy’s own the vineyard and it’s in their backyard. I could call it the Sheredy Clos, but Clos is on the list of banned terms for American wines, even though it is exactly a Clos.
The fruit load here is high, we’re expecting about 50% more fruit from this site than we got last year. Not too surprising as we were in a bit of a recovery mode last year after taking on the vineyard from another company. Here the clusters are larger, fuller and tighter than at Crimson Clover.
The Sheredy’s actually do most of the work themselves. Anytime a major task needs to be done we stop by and spend 30-60 minutes giving them instructions and then they complete the work. We’re doing the routine things and the crew comes in to check on things and correct mistakes, but you can see they followed our instructions on raising the wires very well.
Next was the long part of the drive up to Woodside and Chaine d’Or. We decided to hit the other vineyards on the route on the way back from Chaine d’Or, that way we would end up at home.
Here’s a good example of why it’s good to visit everywhere in one day. Jaye has been working on tucking the vineyard up for the last week. She’s about half done and you can see that below. Walking through though I decided I want to spray this Friday and we’ll need to finish tucking by then. We made this the priority for the week and Millie will go help Jaye get it done by Tuesday.
We have the best looking Chardonnay fruit we’ve had in three years. The clusters are larger than normal and everything looked mildew free. This is our coolest site and has the highest risk of mildew. I found a hornets nest in our walk through, but only a single gopher hole. Jaye has been gopher killer supreme this year.
I didn’t take pictures at our last three stops, Harrison (Syrah), Brauns (Pinot) or Red Hen (Merlot). All looked good with only a minor emergency at Red Hen. The way the chicken pen had been laid around the vineyard this year made one spot hard to spray. That spot had some mildew. I quickly topped off all the excess growth to open up the canopy for spraying and returned the next morning to spray Stylet on the offending spot. The owners also reconfigured the chicken pen so that I can get to that spot going forward.
In all we covered 129 miles and we have a full set of plans to get done before netting starts in mid-August.