In addition to being a place where we grow grapes, our vineyards also attract a range of trees like Cottonwoods and Mulberries. We don’t want these and other “foreign” trees and plants in the vineyard because they compete with the grapes in dry years for water and nutrients. Furthermore, when they get big enough, they interfere with our pruning and harvesting machinery. So, once per year, we go through each of our four vineyards removing them. This is done with a shovel and lots of elbow grease. The bigger trees require a tractor and chain because their roots can be three feet long. This work is a major-league hassle!
While we are inspecting each vineyard, we look for vines that are missing, dying, or diseased, and we remove anything that has to be removed while we note them on our replacement list. If this is done annually, we expect to replace 300 or so vines. But, we went for 3-4 years without paying much attention to replacing vines so we are finishing a three year effort at catchup. This year we will replace 650 vines whereas in 2015 we planted 2,400 vines and in 2014, we planted 4,800. These were all in-fill vines and we did not expand our 38,500 vine vineyard operation at all.