Greg Schultz
May 5, 2017 | Greg Schultz

Spring, Solar, and Sheep

We had our first taste of spring in southern Oregon this week. The crimson clover and winter rye grass we seeded last fall as vineyard floor cover crops have come alive with bees and lady bugs.

A carpet of crimson clover covers the vineyard

Late last week both our 3rd leaf Malbec and 4th leaf Tempranillo vines had bud break, 2½ weeks later than last year due to our long, cold, and wet winter. It's great to see the vines come out of dormancy! We've had a few frosty mornings with more predicted, but so far we have not seen any damage. With temperatures this week in the 80s, new growth is vigorous.

3rd leaf Malbec in bud break

Pruning and taping our 4,000 vines began on February 27th and was completed on April 6th. It was a team effort with 250 hours worked, just under 4 minutes per vine. We got lots of great help from Anne and Nancy and especially from Kevin who is wrapping up his viticulture/enology degree from Umpqua Community College. Pruning is fun and lots of good exercise!

Debbie taping pruned vines with help from the chickens

We continue to look for ways to be more sustainable and better stewards of the land. On April 3rd, Marilyn Hahn delivered 26 ewes and 2 lambs. This is a rental arangement whereby we host the sheep by providing them pasture to graze, and fresh water. They provide almost continuous mowing service and frequent fertilization to our vineyard. Oh and we do have one more responsibility--to feed the beautiful Akbash guard dog Blitz who lives with and protects the sheep from predators.  

Vineyard sheep heading into Glory Oaks Vineyard for the first time

We are now solar powered! On April 24th, TrueSouth Solar out of Ashland, OR completed the installation of our 11.772 kW solar system. There are 36 Sun Power modules in two arrays providing about 70% of our annual electricity needs. During the recent sunny days we sent more electricity out to the power grid than we consumed. It's fun to watch the power meter spin backwards!

One grid of panels faces just south of east capturing the morning sun

We have just received government approval for our new Rosé label designed by John Hiemenz. We are now working with the printer on final details in anticipation of bottling our 2016 whites and rosé in June and our 2015 reds in July. One day closer to our first estate wine!


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