The big news in our vineyards this week is that the grapes have started 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.
Recent rains make spraying of fungicide essential. We are spraying this week almost every morning when there is no wind.
We will be 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 also be removing the grow tubes on vines we planted this spring.
We have a real problem with volunteer mulberries in our vineyards. The birds love the mulberry fruit and they eat it seeds and all. Then, they sit on the top trellis wires in our vineyards and pass the mulberry seeds along wrapped in a nice nitrogen layer. It is perfect for the mulberry tree but not so good for us! We have to dig them out each year. And, with a deep, strong taproot, digging mulberry trees out isn’t easy. This week, we will remove mulberries in the Tassel Ridge and Newport Lane.
We’re still waiting for the right time to try hedging a few rows of Marquette. Our objective is to make harvest easier while managing the vigor of these vines. We won’t be removing leaves that are essential for ripening fruit but we will be reducing the number of leaves on the longer canes. If we did this too early, the vines would just grow lots of laterals which would make the problem more severe and not better. By waiting, we are to the point that the vine won’t grow the laterals because the vine’s energy is now going into ripening and sweetening the grapes.