Hot weather has told the grape vines that it is time to bloom. Don’t feel bad if you can’t picture what a grape blossom looks like because you probably would have a hard time recognizing a grape flower even if it was pointed out to you. The flower buds start out looking like miniature grapes but at the right time, the outer shell of the flower pops off and a tiny flower emerges. The flower stays on the vine for 2–4 days during which the pollen from the stamen drops into the corolla, creating the grape. At the end of that time, the new grape looks like a BB, and is about as hard. We like a gentle breeze during this time but no heavy winds and certainly no rain. This year’s flowering and pollination season could not have been better.
Our vineyard crew took advantage of the dry weather last week and got all 1400 new vines planted. They are now ready to move on to other things. This week, the big job will be to tuck the Marquette and La Crescent, both of which are trellised on a VSP (vertical shoot positioning) system. VSP trellis systems are used on grape varieties that have a strong tendency to grow upward and we took advice that turned out to be mistaken when we planted these grapes. The canes are trained to grow upward between catch wires and the fruiting zone is about 30 inches above ground. At this time of year, the canes are growing every which way and they need to be trained to grow between the catch wires. Because we have almost ten acres of these two grape varieties, we will need the entire week to get this task done.
We will be spraying herbicide and fungicide at Tassel Ridge and will finish removing the Mulberry trees at Meadowcreek this week.