Adam Nunnikhoven, the Tassel Ridge Vineyard Manager, is working on rebuilding an old sprayer so that it can be used to spray lime-sulfur on the vines during March and April. This fungicide stinks and is very corrosive so we don’t want to use a new sprayer to apply it. Hence, the repurposing of an old piece of equipment. He is getting our hand pruners ready by installing newly sharpened blades and getting the batteries charged.
He will also be working on vineyard planning and interviewing vineyard workers who will start at the beginning of March.
We are frequently asked if the very cold weather will damage our vines. The short answer is that we don’t know yet. In fact, we won’t know for sure until the vines bud out in early May. But, we have some suspicions and I will share them with you here.
At this point, we think the roots are well protected. During the very severe weather last week, we had about 12 inches of snow on the ground. It had a protective covering of ice. That acts like insulation. In fact, the ground beneath the snow and ice had very little frost in it. The part of the vine above the snow, including the trunk and cordons, has been exposed and they could split as a result of the cold. We won’t know whether that happens for a week or two. Last week, the temperatures got as low as -22°F when the wind chill was -45°F. We expect that if there is any damage, it will be on varieties like Foch and Steuben that come from warmer climates. Keep in mind that vinifera varieties like Cabernet and Chardonnay are good down to +5°F. That is the reason we grow Northern Varieties.