As I start to see the plum trees bloom around here, I know it's time for us to give our pruning of the grapes that last, final push.
At this point, we have about 85 acres left to prune, out of around 450 total. Mostly Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Petite Sirah and Cabs. Now the sap flow is outward and protects any pruning wounds on these vines. Hopefully we will be done later this month and I'm sure we will see some growth on Chardonnay by the next newsletter as well.
As our crew makes their way through the last vineyards, it gives me time to start planning for the upcoming growing season. I talked about the reflection of past years and then compiling that data with current data. One thing I do on an annual basis that gives me current data is to collect soil samples and send them into the lab for testing.
Consistently working on the quality of soil is crucial in farming and can be the difference between a vineyard that just grows grapes and one that produces amazing wines. Besides looking at the specific nutrients in the soil, looking at organic matter and the resultant soil microbes is key to a soil working for you, rather than a money pit you just throw a bunch of fertilizer money at.
Using this probe below I typically sample the top 6" of soil and take numerous plugs throughout a vineyard block. The lab I work with tracks these vineyards over time and I can compare this data with yields and past treatments to make a pretty good plan for this growing season.
It's not all long walks in the vineyard while sipping Bubbles!