Your friendly neighborhood winemaker here.  Its been a busy summer, and its only getting busier.  We have a bunch of exciting events planned for the next couple weeks.  Thankfully we were able to find someone to help me out with vineyard work for the first time ever.   Mike is doing a great job which helps me be able to spend more time in the winery focusing on making wine.
I did want to share a few pictures and explain whats going in the vineyard this time of year  First lets take a look at a before and after photo of hedging the vineyard:
 After    Before
You can see we trim the rows back pretty aggressively.  In fact, the “after” photo, isn’t the final one, we went through and trimmed a bit more on top of what you’re seeing here.  We hedge the vineyard for a couple reasons.  1st (and most important): Its unnecessary growth. The vines done need it to ripen the fruit, and the extra vine growth takes nutrients away from the fruit.
We also do it for aesthetic and hygienic reasons.  It looks better trimmed, and it allows more air and sun to penetrate into the canopy where the fruit clusters are hiding.  That helps fight diseases, molds, rots and fungi that love stagnant, hot/humid air
Another major chore is weed management.  Weeds compete for water and nutrients from the vine and its fruit.  This is something that everyone who takes care of even one grapevine has to stay on top of.
IMG_0156
Making sure the vineyard rows are cleaned out and free of weeds is a daunting fight.  You have to be very careful if you’re applying herbicides to kill the weeds.  Roundup for instance is a good grass killer but it vaporizes at about 95 degrees, so on hot days it can basically turn into a gas and float through the vineyard and injure the vines.
Additionally, a lot of weeds are immune to Roundup.  We call those super-weeds and we will generally hand pull them.  The alternative is using a weed wacker or another chemical for weeds, but you have to be extraordinarily careful not to hit your vine trunks w/ the blades/string-and a lot of weed killers can hurt younger vines.    Nothing is easy in vineyard management…
But the payoff is great.  Here you can see the fruit developing.  We took this photos on 7.24.14 and we’re still waiting to see the first signs of veraison.  IMG_0817
Veraison is a french word that describes the first stage of ripening where the grape skins begin to change colors.  Chardonnay (white) grapes will change from the lime green you see in this picture to a really unique yellow/amber color.  Red grapes also start out green and also change colors to any number of shades of red.  Some are described as blue even.    I suspect veraison is right around the corner and I am looking forward to it.  Its my favorite time of the year in the vineyard. It really drives home that you’re growing something and watching the all the different varietals we grow change over is really fun for me.
We’re going to try to start offering vineyard walks during our friday night concerts (as long as I’m available) to take people that are interested down into the vineyard to get up close and see whats happening.
——————————UPDATE——————————
Veraison on the Geneva Red Varietal began two days after the original post 7.26.14.20140726_134308-300x225 IMG_0156 IMG_0817 IMG_4718 IMG_7262