We planned to pick Petite Pearl on Tuesday however 0.75 inches of rain on Monday forced a delay. First, the wet vineyard floor won’t support the harvester and related equipment. And second, we were worried that the rain might have diluted the juice in the grapes. We decided to wait for a day or two to make a harvest decision. In any event, this grape variety is one of the last to ripen each year. The decision to pick depended on the total acidity (TA) and the sugar level of the juice. We are also watching our Steuben and will harvest it when it is ready. It is also usually pretty late.
Otherwise, harvest for this year is just about done. We have started to put away some of our harvest equipment and are getting ready to spray fungicide. This is important because powdery mildew especially attacks the leaves and can shut down the vines before they have stored up enough energy to get through the winter. We are removing grow tubes from the newly planted LaCrosse so that the new trunks will harden off. We are tying them up and watering them as necessary.
Within a week or so, we will start to focus on getting the vineyards ready for winter. We will start by locating and replacing the broken posts. This is a hassle because the broken post must be dug out and a new post put back in its place. Then, the trellis wires have to be reattached. The posts rot off at the base after ten to fifteen years in the ground and the stress of mechanical harvesting breaks off some of them every year.
We still have some grapes on vines that we don’t need, and we will drop that fruit so that the vines will put their energy into getting ready for winter.