This week, we finished pruning Itasca, Verona, and Petite Pearl at Tassel Ridge vineyard. We also tied up the year-old LaCrosse at Maple Woods. We started spraying fungicide and mowed everywhere we could. The vineyard team will start planting new vines next week. They will include 66 Clarion and 350 LaCrosse.

You might ask why, if we have more grapes than we can use to make wine, we would plant more vines. That is a good question, but it does have a reasonable answer. Clarion is a very new grape variety that makes a white wine. We are looking for a replacement for the Muscat that we formally purchased in California and then used in several blends. The cost of grapes from California has gone up dramatically during the past two years and the freight to get them to Southeast Iowa is unacceptably high. Maybe Clarion will fill the bill. LaCrosse, on the other hand, is a white grape we use for blending. We have been short on LaCrosse for several years and have decided to plant more so that we are self-sufficient.