The Grape Growings

The Grape Growings

And now, for some news from the vineyard

In the past, we started pruning the grapes very early in the dead of winter with the risk of losing our fingers to frostbite. Now, we’ve grown older and wiser. We know that’s crazy. Also, we got some new tools this year! Mechanical pruners! Talk about fast pruning! We are getting done with rows faster than we ever have in past years, and we wait until it’s warm enough to feel our fingers. Because, smarts and stuff.

Everyone has had a turn…and nearly everyone has nicked a wire. These pruners can cut through anything! Including wires. Luckily, our vineyard manager is well versed in fixing wires. It’s really no problem, but it is a surprise when it happens! I speak from experience *insert eye roll here*.

the drill

We decide where to start based on how we feel, really. There are some varieties that have more growth and are harder to prune than others– so you have to decide: do we want to start there or end there? I mean, this is a super tough decision. So, this year we chose to start with the hard stuff and leave the easy stuff for last.

We also started in the older, bigger vineyard. Right now, we are on track to be done with this vineyard in the next 5-7 days if the weather holds out!

Next, we have to start pruning and training the younger vineyard. We have done some light training in the past few years, but this year we expect a crop, so we have to be a bit more tough with the training.

Typically, with a grapevine in the Midwest, we grow and train the grapes for 3-5 years before expecting a normal crop load. The Junior Vineyard (the younger, smaller vineyard) is in it’s 3rd year of growth, so we will expect a crop from it this year. The first year is not always a reliably big crop load, but it’s good to get the plant ready to bear fruit. In the years prior, we would go through and clip off any little fruits so that the plant could focus on above- and below-ground growth. Ideally, the plant should be ready to bear fruit in the third year.

The plants in the Junior Vineyard may be small, but they are mighty! We are excited to have a new grape from this vineyard this year as well: Frontenac Blanc. So, keep your eyes peeled for those updates!

Ahhhhh a pruned vine!
This little tractor pulls all the vineyard cuttings out with that rake attachment on the back.
The “pile” so far!
It really pays to have big tractors to do all the hard work 🙂

That’s all the newsworthy updates from the vineyard for now!

with midbest love,