If the sun weren't shining, I probably would have had a little post for you all much sooner. But, as the old adage goes, you have to make hay while the sun shines. We're not exactly firing up the combine and rolling out the tedder, but we do have much to do after a very wet start to the season.
The biggest news is our latest planting, 2A at our Charlotte site. We had our friends from Benchmark Custom Laser Planting in the Finger Lakes come back and add just under 1A each of Prairie Star and Louise Swenson, both exceptional cold hardy white cultivars. Our nursery stock came from Northeastern Vine Supply, down in West Pawlet. Their bare root vines are the biggest, healthiest, and highest quality I've seen. It will be exciting to watch these new vines grow this summer. And ironically, we have to water them!
Other goings on earlier included shoot thinning and disbudding. A vine can only support so much crop and the canopy can only be so dense. Each year we go through and remove secondary (grapevines have a compound bud, each node has 3 bud primordia and the primary is the desirable one) and latent buds (unfruitful shoots originating from old wood) from the cordons, trunks, and canes. We also finally managed to get our first spray in, albeit it a little late, but so far the vineyards are looking free and clear of disease. Now we have to keep an eye out for all the summer critters that like to eat our leaves.
Lastly, some of you may have noticed the piles of rocks scattered around our winery vineyard. We're using a Harley Rake to pull the stones off the surface of the soil to make a nice smooth bed for seeding white clover. When established, the clover will help with nitrogen management, provide a low growing cover, look beautiful, and be easy and quick to mow (since all the rocks will be gone). That's the goal anyway, so stop in and see our progress.