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What’s happening in the vineyard?

March 5, 2011

As Spring creeps closer, it is almost time for the vines to wake up from the long break of winter and start growing again. However, just because the vines have been taking a break all winter, doesn’t mean the rest of us have! Vineyard crews around the Willamette Valley have been busy pruning all winter long. Every single vine gets pruned by hand, tied to the trellis and prepared to begin growing toward the sun, for harvest in the fall. In some vineyard blocks, there can be over 1000 vines/acre…That’s a lot of pruning!

The person pruning a vine will be selecting one shoot from the 2010 growing season to produce all of the shoots for the 2011. When they find the right shoot, they bend it so that it is horizontal to the ground and, with the help of a few twist ties, secure the shoot to the trellis. This shoot will have buds on it every 6-8 inches, and each one will produce a new shoot that will climb up the rest of the trellis through spring and summer.

Lillie's Vineyard

Our vines at Lillie's Vineyard recently pruned

We will likely see bud break within the next month or two, but that is really mother nature’s decision. Bud break is really the start of the 2011 season and can be a slightly scary time for some vineyard managers. Any of you who experienced Winter and Spring in Oregon know that the weather is slightly unpredictable. It could be sunny and warm one week and snowing the next, and is a frightening prospect. When the vines first start growing in the Spring, they push out delicate, tender little shoot tips (deer find these delicious) that are exposed to the elements. As long as the weather is kind, the tender little shoots will grow into large, fruit bearing shoots with a couple of grape clusters on them (birds find these delicious). However, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, all of those tender shoots can turn into frozen shoots, and frozen shoots die.

All in all, feel free to pray for snow, but make sure it is in the mountains and not in the vineyards. Fortunately, the snow came in February while the vines were still dormant and will have no ill affect on 2011.

We will be picking a couple of dates for futures tasting this month. We are tentatively tasting out at ADEA on Sunday, March 13th and possibly in the evening on Saturday, March 19th. Please contact either Aubrey or Alex for directions and details.

Cheers,

Alex & Aubrey

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