Greg Schultz
August 26, 2017 | Greg Schultz

Awaiting Harvest, But Not Sitting Around!

The 1952 Chevy 5 window pickup shining like new!

Last Friday we caught up with our vineyard work. This is the first time since March when there hasn't been something pressing and needing attention. Excess fruit has been dropped from the vines and all of the spraying has been done. With harvest about 6 weeks out, we will continue to drip irrigate the plants gradually decreasing the frequency and amount as the weather begins to cool.

Even though the growing season started late this year due to the cold winter, the plants are now at the same development stage as last year. Veraison is the French term for the growth stage when the berries begin to develop color and soften. Our Tempranillo reached veraison on August 14th, which is 3 days earlier than last year; the Malbec is about a week later.

Color development in a Tempranillo cluster

We planted 1,700 new Viognier and Petit Verdot vines a little over a month ago. The goals for new plants are to protect them and keep them well watered. About 70% of the new plants have grown tall enough to reach out of their grow tubes, and most of the rest are not far behind. The inevitable losses are estimated at 1-2%. In a few weeks we will begin removing the grow tubes so that the young plants can harden off before winter.

Young vine popping out of its protective grow tube

We've lost about 1% of our 3rd leaf Malbec plants. I talked about this in a previous blog thinking that the plants were not getting the water that they need. This turned out to be the case, but not because of any irrigation problems. Two weeks ago Alex Levin, viticulturist from Oregon State University came to inspect. These plants were killed by crown gall most likely brought on by the extreme cold of the past winter. Injuries to the graft union of the grape vine caused by freezing and cracking most likely gave the bacteria that cause crown gall an opening to penetrate the vine. Younger vines are especially susceptible. Crown gall effectively strangles the plant preventing uptake of nutrients. Plans are to do a thorough survey of the Malbec block to identify all affected vines.

Malbec vine killed by crown gall

Layout has begun on a 2-acre Pinot noir and Chardonnay vineyard on a steep north-facing slope. Planting is scheduled for 2019. There is a lot that goes into developing a vineyard--layout, irrigation decisions, installation of stakes, end-posts, and trellis wires. It's not too early to start!

Kevin Breck pounding in 1 of 600 line stakes. Smoke in background.

The 2015 reds and 2016 whites have been bottled and are now resting. From the summer bottling we have released our first estate wine, a beautiful off-dry 2016 Tempranillo Rosé. We used the saignée method for making the rosé and are very excited about having it available in our tasting room. Thanks to Kevin Breck for including us in his Medford Mail Tribune EnoFile article on summer rosés. Come give it a try! 

We were blessed to receive four medals at the recent Oregon Wine Experience competition, a Double Gold for our 2012 "Blessed" Merlot, and Silvers for our 2015 "Homeward" Chardonnay, 2014 "Freedom" Pinot noir and 2012 "Shepherd" Syrah. Many thanks to Steelhead Run and Stand Sure vineyards, and Pallet Wine Company! 

On the farm, the chickens are doing well considering many 100F days and lots of forest fire smoke. They got a bit excited during the near total eclipse we had and made lots of strange noises. Egg production is still strong, but not quite like spring time. The summer garden has been bountiful and we now are offering beautiful onions in the farm stand.

Organically grown red onions now available!




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