All of our grape varieties are now ripening. The acid levels are starting to decrease and sugar levels are growing. The grapes are becoming very flavorful, however, they are still high in acidity. The color of the grapes has changed. White grapes have become somewhat translucent and golden whereas the red or purple grapes take on the color they will have when we harvest starting in 2–3 weeks.
We continue to spray fungicide regularly.
We are still doing lots of routine maintenance in the vineyards. We are replacing or fixing posts that have broken and the H-Braces (the ends of each row of trellis) that have a broken member. We are making some repairs to the irrigation system and to the harvester.
We are spraying an Avian Control material on Marquette, Foch, and Frontenac this year on a trial basis. This material has no effect on the grapes but it is supposed to repel birds. Since they like red grapes so much, we’ll be quite happy if it works. We still plan to use the 11 miles of bird netting we purchased but maybe this spray will help us reduce the amount of netting we have to install and remove next year. We expect to start installing the netting late this week.
We are also spraying Lavigne on St. Croix in one of our vineyards. Lavigne is a yeast-based material that is supposed to remove some of the green or vegetal notes from the juice.
We are visiting grape growers who are selling us fruit to make sure we are comfortable with their practices and the fruit that we will be purchasing.
Finally, early this week, we will take petiole samples to determine how much of each major and minor nutrient our vines are taking up. We remove a specific number of leaves from vines of each variety in each block and cut off the leaf leaving just the stem or petiole. We bag these up and label them carefully and send them off to a lab for analysis. The lab crushes the stems and extracts the juice for analysis. We can learn which nutrients each variety in each location is taking up from the soil. Since we already know which nutrients are available in the soil, we get a really good look at the health of the vines.