2012 Montepulciano veraison and netting

Montepulciano veraison has arrived.

Montepulciano veraison has arrived.

Life goes by fast. Busy day blurs into the next busy day. For some, weekends punctuate the cycle. For other religious calendars mark out the passing of seasons.

Farmers may not always be able to look to a weekend of relaxing, and observance of religious holidays is often negotiated against the demands of the crops. But it’s the cycle of the source of their livelihood that is the metronome of their lives.

So, in regions where seasons are less defined, the cyclical nature of a small vegetable or flower garden or a home vineyard shows the sweeping current of time’s river which is otherwise masked by its seemingly smooth and still surface.

Montepulciano, two weeks earlier.

Montepulciano, two weeks earlier.

Just three weeks ago, I was fighting off powdery mildew. I was worried about shatter and the bunches hand not yet closed.

Despite the shatter and coulure, my Montepulciano vines set a decent first crop. There are ways of estimating total crop yield by weighing sample clusters form select vines and multiplying that by cluster count, number of vines and an average cluster weight.

It’s that cluster weight that is the one variable which needs to be established for a particular planting in a particular location.

There is still some unevenness in color development.

There is still some unevenness in color development.

As I explained when I named the vineyard, a vineyard – particularly this one – is not a casual or effortless endeavor. It would be nice to have some average cluster weights to calculate my production, year to year. But things worth doing are never easy.

The reason I want to calculate annual yields is not some obsessive need for process. Rather, because I can’t imagine ever being able to drink or give away all the wine I make each year, I’d like to be able to sell some fruit to local home winemakers. This would allow me to maybe offset water or other operational costs.

But, of course, in order to have fruit to sell you have to ripen it without losing any to pests. And as last season showed, I have pests in abundance. I lost last year’s crop, in part, because I did not have the proper netting in place. This year, I hope my investment in 1000 feet of 17′ wide Avigard netting will give a good return.

The video below shows some key methods to applying netting and to prevent it being torn on posts:

In the next week or two, I expect the Aglianico to hit veraison. Things will get very busy in the meantime.

The Aglianico is still behind.

The Aglianico is still behind.

Most of the vineyard’s namesake Russian Thistle grows in the northeast portion of the Montepulciano block. I pulled it and other big weeds as we netted. This all still needs to be bagged and removed before the wind drives it into the netting.

Some additional weed pulling in the Aglianico block is needed as well. A few other things needed to prep the block for netting will be the focus of my next post.

Finally, my most recent visit to the vineyard leaves me wondering:

Could this be Pierce's Disease?

Could this be Pierce’s Disease?

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About SUAMW

Father, husband, physician, amateur guitarist, wine lover, wine writer, wine grower and wine maker trying to do it all within eye shot of downtown Los Angeles. http://www.shutupandmakewine.com http://twitter.com/Dr_Arthur_P
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