This is the time of year when we collect petiole samples (stems of leaves) and send them to a lab for analysis. We collect the stems of certain leaves because the stems are the pipelines of a grape vine. All of the nutrients in the vine travel through the leaf stems. The lab will crush them and remove the juice. The juice will be analyzed for the presence of plant nutrients such as Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium, and Boron. These nutrients are taken up mainly through the roots in the ground. But, these nutrients must be in a loose balance because too much of some nutrients will inhibit the ability of the vine to take up other nutrients. We know from other testing which and how much of the needed nutrients are in the soil and the petiole analysis helps us understand whether everything is in balance or that we need to plan on correcting some nutrients next season.
We’ll be ordering vines to replace those that died or need to be replaced for other reasons and we’ll be doing normal pre-harvest maintenance on machinery. Finally, fruit is beginning to ripen and for the multitudes of birds living around our vineyards, it will seem like mealtime! This year, we’ll depend more on Hawk Kites than we did last year. They worked pretty well last year so we’ll add five or six new “birds” for this season. The birds are always on guard for hawks, one of their main predators so just the sight of one will send them elsewhere.