I took a few better pictures of the front yard Haut Tubee vineyard to illustrate the comments I made about aesthetics in my update on our Pinot Noir Vineyard. Most of the things we do are simple and you probably would have a hard time noticing the differences. It’s not really an attempt to make it ‘pretty’ as much as one to make it look clean and pleasing.
Below see how the vines don’t have a stake holding up the trunk? Once the vine reaches the cordon wire we remove that stake and let the vine attach to the wire. This removes a lot of metal from the vineyard and lets the plant be seen on its own with no visual distractions.
In this close up you can see there are no ties or clips in the vineyard. There’s nothing to attach the vine to the wire, or the wires to anything else. This vine hasn’t attached on its own so we will use one twisty to tie it off this year. Each vine does have a small vine protector on it to keep it safe from weed whacking. Stef selected guards though that blend in and aren’t too tall. We will use grow tubes, but once the vine is up to the wire we remove it with the stake.
The cover crop between the rows is slow to get started this year, it is a natural mix of crimson clover and California wild flowers. The idea is that the vineyard should look like a natural hillside would and the only thing you should see is the vines and the absolute minimum hardware needed to keep the vines upright.
Tuesday we drove up to the Los Altos Hills after work to drop off some grow tubes and check on our Pinot Noir Vineyard. This small vineyard has just about 800 plants and should produce about a ton of fruit from us once at full production. This was our first vineyard to have bud break this year and the plants were pretty far along in growth.
Stefania, Millie and I did all the pruning this year. There were some spacing issues I wanted corrected and I though many of the plants needed new cordons as they’d been pushed too far too fast before we took over the site last year. We went through each vine very carefully to get it pruned with the focus on strong plant this year. So far the growth looks really good.
The vines need some suckering and thinning. Stef and I will do that ourselves also so that we know the plants are trained exactly how we want them. We both felt there was too much green growth and too many shoots left last year so thinning will be a key. The vineyard layout is good but it is ‘busy’ compared to what we normally do. Stef likes a clean simple aesthetic in the vineyard and this one had a lot of extra clips, stakes, holders and tape. We try and avoid using those items.
It might be hard to spot below but if you look closely you’ll see lots of green tie tape on the plants. Each plant is also staked and tied down to the stake. I put up a picture of our front yard vineyard as a comparison. Notice that there is no tie anywhere and no extra metal or plastic in sight. It’s something small and subtle but it gives the vineyard more of a natural feeling versus looking like a ‘metal and wire garden’ as Stef calls them.
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