We had to pick all our wine grapes in mid-October due to temperatures that remained below freezing. We picked 6 tons in 3 days.
It's better to pick before a hard freeze because it signals the vines to shut down for winter.
The grapes are quietly going about their business, waiting for the peaches and apples to ripen first. Veraison hasn't happened YET, and it's getting late.
The cool weather we've had this spring and now in August have slowed the grapes progress.
The vineyards are beautiful now, very green and lush — perhaps too lush for this late in the season.
Spring and Summer Pruning
The vineyards are the last fruits to prune on our farm. Spring freezes are a major hazard in our area and can send a trained vine back to the ground to start over. The grape clusters only appear on second year wood so not only do we have to tie the first year cane growth to the bamboo and tend it all summer, we don't get a harvest until the following year.
Last year we had a late April temperature in the low 20s, and labored long hours in the vineyards. This year we expect a commercially viable harvest – the first since we bought the farm in 05 and planted the Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier in 06. We have a vitner to buy our grapes.
Apple Wedge vineyard before pruning starts in April.
Chambourcin in July.
Aaron Martell laid 14 miles of poly tubing and took these photos too!
There's not a lot to say about the vineyards now except that the irrigation tubing is in and emitters almost done. We can't test the system until the weather warms up and danger of breaks during rapid freeze up passes. Our days are in the 40s but nights still drop into the teens.
So we are enjoying the winemaking part of grape growing. We've bottled the 07 pinot gris. The peach and apple wine experiment of 07 will be bottled soon. We racked a barrel of All Things Pinot (all pinots on the farm fermented as a red grape) from the surviving wine grapes on the farm. The 08 spring frost destroyed our marketable commercial crop, like so many other vineyards in our area.
February 10, the state enologist visits Rogers Mesa for a special lecture to winemakers and we will take samples for comment. Dr. Steve Menke will bring whiff vials to explain the cause and effect of "bad smells" in wine.
On a personal note, recently my aunt informed me that not only my grandfather (her dad) made wine from grapes he grew on the family farm near Kansas City, but also his father! My auntie still enjoys a glass of wine with dinner at age 87!
I remember Grandad inviting us kids to taste the "orange soda pop" that was really his wine, on our Sunday farm visits – the grownups thought that was hilarious. I went along with the joke because it was cool to be the only girl ever to venture into a damp dark cellar for fake pop, or so I thought. No doubt my aunt had her turn!
Heck, maybe I can say I'm a third generation winemaker instead of
the "default" winemaker! – M