We will start thinning leaves on Marquette vines at Meadowcreek Vineyards. We want the fruit to get some sun but the leaves are two and three deep in places so we will mount our Collard leaf thinning system on a tractor and get ready to start removing some leaves. The Collard system works by using high-pressure air to shred the leaves in just the fruiting zone. It does not damage the fruit. We have to get it just right because if we remove too many leaves, we will make it difficult for the fruit to ripen and if we fail to remove enough leaves, the fruit won’t get any direct sun. Studies show that sun-exposed fruit develops better phenolic character and better flavors.
At Tassel Ridge Vineyard, we are working on the Edelweiss in Block A that we cut off at the ground last year. We are removing the old trunks, selecting one sucker to be the new trunk, and removing the other suckers. We install a grow tube on the sucker we keep and then hand spray herbicide on the weeds under the row. Right now that portion of the vineyard looks terrible but in 3–4 weeks, it should look just like a very clean newly planted vineyard. We should have fruit to harvest from these vines next year.
We will spray fungicide at Tassel Ridge Vineyard, remove mulberry trees at Newport Lane, fertilize and hand spray the 1400 new vines we planted this year, and start checking tension of the trellis wires to get the trellis ready for harvest. We loosen the trellis wires in the fall and now is the time to tighten them back up.
Finally, late this week, we’ll take our first grape yield survey for the season. This involves a block-by-block survey of the average number of bunches on vines multiplied by the number of berries in each bunch and multiplied again by the number of vines in each block. We also compare the size of the berries to past years. This first crop survey is at best a rough estimate that we will refine at 2-3 week intervals. You might ask why we just allow ourselves to be surprised! We are making decisions now on how much of each of our 40 wines to make and we are entertaining interest from other wineries in purchasing some of our grapes. We need to be sure we have enough of each variety and where we have too much, we need to be reaching out to wineries that might want to purchase those grapes.