One part of our vineyard crew is tying and suckering our Marquette vines while another is tightening the trellis wire at Tassel Ridge. We’ve just received a new Environmist sprayer for applying herbicide safely under the rows of vines. We will continue spraying the area immediately under the vines for another week or so.

Our new vines are now supposed to arrive late this week. This year, we are only replanting about 650 vines, the smallest amount of planting in three years. All of these vines will replace vines that died or were having serious growth problems.

For the first time in five years, we will be expanding our vineyards in 2017. We will be planting Brianna, Petite Pearl, and St. Pepin. Brianna and St. Pepin are varieties that we are perennially short of. We also face challenges in purchasing enough fruit of these two varieties to meet our own demand. Petite Pearl is completely new to us. We plan to use it to blend with Marquette. Last week, we seeded down the new vineyard floor at Tassel Ridge Vineyard.

Our experiments with grape varieties will continue in 2017. We are planting Itasca, a new white wine varietal, and Verona, a variety that is supposed to make a full bodied dry red wine.

Almost all of the vines will come in as rooted cuttings. The cutting is a cane that is about 24 inches long. It was removed from a dormant vine in the spring 2015 and rooted in a sandy soil. The root ball is sometimes as much as three feet long.

It will take about a week to plant these vines.