After three years of work and ups and downs, there are finally clusters hanging on my vines. It’s been an imperfect year, with a wet winter and spring conditions that resulted in uneven fruit set.
Two Aglianico vines are struggling for different reasons, so I cut their flowers and fruit to let them catch up.
All in all, I should be able to make a few gallons of Aglianico this year, barring any unforeseen events – in the vineyard and in the family.
In the last few days I have conducted a survey of the vines and obtained a count of clusters on each vine, separating them into five categories or ripeness. Based on this information I hope to:
- determine if I need to drop any clusters
- make decisions about leaf pulling
- approximate the amount of wine I can make this year
Below is a gallery of photos illustrating the range of ripeness on my vines. This corresponds to the categories used in my chart.
From these photos, a good amount of powder mildew seen on the canes, but I’ve been able to avoid loosing any fruit. While I’ve been lucky in dodging serious diseases so far, I have fallen behind in weed management.
One of the main problems with goblet training is shading of fruit. New canes are lifted over the head, crossed and tied to the post. This places the canopy (in a goblet, or tulip shape) above the fruit zone. In high-vigor situations, the canes continue to grow, reaching about 10 feet in some cases. These long canes can intertwine with those of adjacent vines. More frequently, though, they hang back down over the other side and end up shading the fruit.
This limits air flow and can make the clusters susceptible to mildew. Additionally, fruit needs some sun exposure to ripen. The simple solution here is to pull leaves and expose the fruit. Below, are some photos and a short video demonstrating how fruit can be exposed to the sun:
Finally, a few of the ripe clusters also caught my eye because they look to have insect or bird damage:
A couple of clusters also look as if they’ve had berries plucked from them.