Greg Schultz
May 3, 2015 | Greg Schultz

Spring Update


As we enter our 5th year in the wine business, we are constantly learning; as we enter our 2nd year as vineyard farmers, the learning curve is steep.  My last blog focused on our winter pruning--it was a first for us and I wondered how well we did.  So when neighboring vineyard owners began proclaiming "we've had bud break" this spring, I started looking for the first signs of new leaves on our young vines.  Days went by, then a week, then another.  I started to think I had pruned too much, or too early, or too late, or too "something".  But, then it happened!  First one plant, then 10 more, then 100, then 1000...we too had bud break.  Somewhere around April 10, the young vines sprang to life for the 2015 season.

Bud break! (Photo taken with a far-sighted phone)

Something else we learned this year is how fast grass grows given the right conditions.  Look at the photo above--some of that grass is waist high.  If you look back to some of last year's blogs, you'll see photos that show the vineyard to be bare ground as we prepared to plant.  We neither planted, nor watered the ground between the vine rows.  Of course, it doesn't rain much in Oregon in the summer so the ground stayed mostly bare except near the vines where the drip irrigation hit.  As fall and winter passed, cooler temperatures and seasonal rain brought grass (and weeds!) to the vineyard.  We were thankful for the ground cover when a winter storm brought 2" of rainfall in 24 hours--there was no erosion!  So when spring rolled around we had a healthy "lawn" in the vineyard--not too tall, but robust and green. Then, boom!  It seemed like overnight that the grass jumped up to the fruiting wire.  Warmer, longer days and still some good rains made it difficult to walk down the rows.  Long story short, we got help mowing and did a lot of weedeating.  (Maybe the shade from the tall grass delayed our bud break... :) ).  Next year, we'll cut the grass sooner!

So as we move into May, the vines are healthy and growing.  Applegate Vineyard Management has started to pound end posts into the eastern half of the vineyard as we are getting ready for the Malbec planting.  And, we have applications into the county and the Oregon Liquor Control Comission to convert our 60-year-old farmhouse into commercial space for farm products and wine!



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