Thinning at Crimson Clover

Friday I took the day off from the day job. We had traveled up to Sonoma the day before and I thought there might be more touring around on Friday but there wasn’t. We thought about going hiking but decided to help Jaye out at Crimson Clover instead. We had sent her out to thin the vineyard and it was going much slower than we counted on.

Stefania and I arrived about 9 am. We started by raising the wires on the first nine rows. We stopped on the 10th though and started helping Jaye thin. The growthwas much shorter starting in row 7 or so and we figured out that the crew had made a pruning error this winter.

Many of the spurs were removed and this was what was slowing Jaye down. Instead of removing one or two extra shoots from each spur she was having to pick one shoot out of dozens to reestablish the spur.

It is a set back for the vineyard. We’ll lose somewhere between 1000-2000 pounds of potential fruit this year. That would mean a ‘good’ yield will be about 3000 pounds. We counted on about 5000 this year. It’s bad but not tragic, the vineyard will recover.

I took the picture below of Jaye and Stefania working while I took a water break. We were able to finish thinning by 3 PM or so. We’ll go back in a couple of week and raise the rest of the wires as the shoots get longer. We’ll be busy thinning in all the vineyards over the next few weeks. It’s something we like to finish before flowering starts. We don’t want to do any work on the vines while they flower to avoid shatter.

It is also much harder to thin after flowering because the base of the shoot becomes hard. After flowering you need to use clippers to remove extra shoots. Right now we can just snap the shoots off with out hands.

Mountain Climbing

Where do I start?

The photo is of Mt. Belford.

In addition to getting ready for this harvest season, Paul and I have been busting our buns to get into good enough shape to climb this mountain.  Why?  Long story, for another day.  The short version is that we’ve been doing the stairs at Communications Hill in San Jose, and let me tell you what, it’s no picnic.  On our first day out to test them, we did one set.  From the very bottom, all the way up, and back down.  Thought I would die from heart or lung failure…so.out.of.shape.  Ugh!

The next time, I did what I should have done the first time out and took a hit off the asthma inhaler before driving over there.  We did two sets, up and down, up and down.  Better.  By lastnight, we successfully did “the hill”, five times.

In between hill climbs, we went over to Calero and hiked our normal trail, the hard way, and never stopped.  The stairs are working!  Usually, on the incline, we stop to catch our breath at least three times, sometimes more.  We didn’t stop! Woohoo! There were a couple of times I thought I should, but then the trail would level off just a bit, long enough to catch my breath and we kept going.  Felt great.

Things I really need to blog about that are vineyard and winery related are coming up soon, this is my test blog to see how the new platform works out. So far so good…of course I’m not to “publish” yet, so we’ll see what happens.  Wish me luck.


This Years Training Camp

Each summer we start a ‘training camp’ to get ready for harvest.  Normally it’s more time at the gym and a regular hike schedule.  It gets us ready for the long days up and down the hills in our vineyards that are coming up.

This year we’re starting with something new though and a little extra motivation.  The picture above is the base of Communication Hill in San Jose.  There are 56 steps and a 2 block walk up to the main stair case.  The main run is 224 steps that cover about 180 foot climb.  We’ve been on a schedule so far of about every other day and are up to 5 consecutive climbs.  We’ll keep working towards being able to do the flight at least 10 times in a row.

We also have a training plan sent to us from a personal trainer in Colorado.  The extra motivation is a plan for us to climb a 14,000 peak in Colorado next year.  We’ve picked Mount Belford as our target climb and late July as the date.

I’ve added in some other local hikes that we’ll do over the next year to help get ready, including climbing Mission Peak here in Milpitas and the 10 mile Bald Peak trail at Calero Park.  If all goes well we will also try and work our postponed Grand Canyon hike in either before or after Mount Belford (I want to try April, Stef wants to do it after in September around the time we’re usually in Las Vegas).

The hardest time for us will be November and December.  In past years we have been in good shape going into harvest and then done well through October.  By the middle of November though we’re exhausted from harvest work and just as we’re finishing up cellar work when Thanksgiving and then Christmas are on us.  We might only get to the gym 2-3 times in those two months.  This year we’ll have to stay on a schedule though to be ready for our 14,000 foot climb!