All of our grape varieties are in veraison now. That means that all varieties are in the final stage of development before harvest where they change color from a milky green to either red or yellowish-green depending on the variety. They are also starting to produce sugar which we will use to provide the fuel for fermentation.
Veraison triggers two events in the vineyard. First, we start collecting petioles which are the stems of certain leaves on a sampling of vines in each block and variety. These are sent to a lab where they are crushed and the juices analyzed for the presence of macro nutrients and micro nutrients. We will then know what our vines are removing from the soil. Second, if we can see the grapes, the birds can too. So, veraison triggers netting of red grape vines where we have bird pressure.
We will also continue to do routine vineyard maintenance. This includes replacing broken trellis posts and removing grow tubes which will allow the small vines to harden off for winter.
Finally, fungus is a major problem this year all over the Midwest. We’d planned to purchase grapes from an Illinois grower however he called and said that fungus had wiped out his grape crop this year. Spraying to prevent fungus (black rot, bunch rot, and powdery mildew) from getting started in the first place is the only solution. Once you have fungus in the vineyard, it is too late to do much for this year.