Greg Schultz
 
February 14, 2015 | Greg Schultz

Second Phase of Vineyard Development

After last year's vineyard development and Tempranillo planting and before harvest work started, we invited Dr. Greg Jones to visit our site for the purpose of preparing a property assessment.  Dr. Jones is a professor, research climatologist, and director at Southern Oregon University and passionately works with the Oregon wine industry to optimize fruit quality and production.  Read more about Dr. Jones here.

We walked the site, looked at the recently plantings, and discussed future plans.  A few weeks later, we had a detailed report from Dr. Jones that included geology, topography, soil, climate information, and grape varietal recommendations.  

From the report we learned that our property elevation ranges from 1450 to 1670 ft with an average slope of 16% varying from flat to a high of 54%.  The area of our first planting is roughly southwest facing while other parts of the property face north.  We have three soil types:  Ruch Gravelly Silt Loam (north end of property and location of the vineyard), Tallowbox Gravelly Sandy Loam (forested hill side and future homesite), and Shefflein Loam (rather steep north facing hillside at south end of property).

From a climatic perspective, we learned that our site in the Applegate Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is likely warm enough to ripen numerous winegrape varieties with warm, dry summers and mild to moderate frost risk in the spring and low risk in the fall. Many vineyards in the immediate area have had success with a wide range of varieties.  Plant growth timing varies across the valley and is very site specific, but on average we learned that bud break can be expected around April 20th, bloom around June 20th, and veraison around August 20th. Harvest dates in the Applegate are highly dependent on the variety, site, and producer stylistic choices; however harvest averages October 11th with a typical 15 day window on either side. Recent years have been warmer than normal resulting in more variability and earlier plant development.

Dr. Jones' report included recommendations of a number of varietals well suited to our site.  With that information, personal preference, and business considerations we chose Malbec for our second planting.  Malbec is a red varietal, traditionally grown for French Bordeaux wines, and more recently made famous as a single varietal wine by Argentina.  We have 2,000 vines on order for summer 2015 planting.  Vineyard layout and development are underway.  Cheers!

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