All of our grape varieties are nearly finished with Veraison. Veraison is when the grapes stop growing and start ripening. The acid levels start to decrease and sugar levels grow. The color of the grapes starts to change. White grapes usually become somewhat translucent and golden whereas the red or purple grapes take on the color they will have when we harvest starting in 3–4 weeks.
We continue to spray fungicide regularly.
We are doing lots of routine maintenance in the vineyards. Mowing is almost a continuous task when it is raining regularly. And after wind storms, we move through each vineyard re-tying vines that have fallen down. We will be removing the grow tubes on vines we planted this spring. 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. And, we are combing vines so that harvest will be easier this year and pruning easier next year. Our objective is to assure that the canes drop directly to the ground from the high wire rather than running along the high wire in a big tangle.
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 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’ve done an updated harvest forecast and because of wind damage about three weeks ago, we’ve reduced our harvest forecast on Edelweiss by about 10 tons. This will still be a record harvest assuming our numbers are right.
Finally, this is the time of year that we 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.