You can see that things are really taken off in the vineyard! The weather’s been lovely and the vines are showing their appreciation.
As the shoots have lengthened, we’ve started tucking them into the trellis system – it’s called “vertical shoot positioning.” The purpose is to get lots of sunlight to the leaf surface, to heighten fruity flavors, and filtered light to the clusters.
Regarding that second goal, the filtered sunlight, we’ve made an improvement in our trellising system. Notice the cross arms on the grape stake? Those are new!
Up to now, we have trained the shoots straight up at a 90-degree angle to the ground. That was good.
But, in the last few vintages, we’ve experienced some sun damage due to extreme heat. The clusters, which hang below the leaf canopy, were almost completely exposed.
Our answer to weather extremes is to be less extreme in our shoot positioning. The shoots are still being trained vertically, but as they grow longer and longer, and we tuck them into the wires on those cross bars, they’ll be positioned in a more relaxed, natural way and the shoots will be able to provide some protection to the clusters, below (once they show up – after flowering). Nice, dappled light is our goal. Those crossbars also do a great job of supporting the canopy. Don’t you think it looks a little more graceful, too?
The vines should begin flowering any minute, now, and the weather predictions are favorable. If these predictions hold true, this will be the first vintage of trouble-free flowering since 2009.
As the shoots get longer and longer we’ll tip them to make sure the canopy is balanced with the crop. Let’s just hope this terrific weather holds!