Sunday, February 22, 2009

Young Oak Vineyards - Volume 29: First Year Anniversary Edition

        WELL, WE DID IT !!!

WE SURVIVED OUR 1ST YEAR  !!!

And the vineyard has survived ... voracious deer, gol' darn gophers, defective water system assembly (code for my stupid plumbing mistakes) and monster weeds that overwhelmed the trellises.  But the job at hand, pruning, is rapidly nearing the critical period.  So, today we started to clear the weeds that the goats have not managed to eat.  Notice the "goats' exodus" of the vineyard due to the noise of the weed wacker.

That's "mi amigo, Leo" wacking away at the weeds.  We used the small sheet of plywood propped up against the grapevine to protect the plant as well as the drip-lines during the wacking process

This year's pruning is a little different from that of an established vineyard.  In this first and second year's pruning we are establishing the trunk & cordons of the grapevine.  From the description of most sources, including The Backyard Vintner by Jim Law, it seems like we got the equivalent of "two years worth of growth" on most of our grapevine as you can see in the photo of one of the grapevines with the white poster board background.

So, from all the shoots that have grown out from the clone, we will choose the straightest & most upright cane, then prune away all the others.  That remaining cane we will tie off to a "grape stake" with some of that green gardening elastic tie or use "growtubes".  We will also top (cut-off) this cane at the level of the trellis wire to stimulate lateral growth.

Hey, its starting to rain and I hear its going to rain all week, so we will probably take a couple of weeks to tame these weeds as we dance around the rain storms.  So we will be actually pruning in the last weeks of winter or the first week or so of spring!

Wishing you happy anniversary from down in the vineyard,
John

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Young Oak Vineyards - Volume 28: Valentine's Day Edition!

Hi all:

Hope you all are enjoying the weekend.  We are having a very wet & rainy Valentine's Day here.  Over two days of heavy rain and two more fore-casted for Monday & Tuesday.  Well, all this rain is a good thing for California.  The rain here means snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Which means no drought this summer!

Is my picture out of focus you ask?  Actually, it is raining so hard that my camera is focusing on the close in rain drops, which can be seen upon very close inspection (see the white streak by the corner of the old deck beams) and the background vineyard falls out of that focal range!

Well, as you can kind of see, the goats have valiantly tried to eat the weeds in the vineyard.  At least now you can see the trellis posts!  Before the goats started, the weeds had overgrown the trellis posts.  We had six foot tall mustard grass!  Big Mac, Ellie & their little crew of four have spent a great deal of time down there eating the weeds, but the time has come to prune.  And so, I will have to intervene and whack down the rest of the weeds as soon as we get a dry spell!

Hope you are all well and staying dry & out of the weather!

From down in the very wet vineyard,
John