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Friday, June 29, 2007

Vineyard neglect

I've found that there are two major categories of events that can interfere with work in the vineyard. One is man made and the other occurs naturally. Weather is the latest holdup, and we've had 3.5 inches of rain in the past three days, much of it coming down in a two-hour stretch Wednesday evening. The rain isn't exactly unwelcome as we'd had two weeks of bone-dry weather and the vines were beginning to show some signs of stress. Better to save that stress for veraison, which is still two weeks away. But still, 3.5 inches is a bit much and a downpour tends to keep me out of the vineyard. Fortunately, I sprayed just before the rain using a spreader-sticker to make the fungicide stick longer during the deluge and spread more evenly in protection over the fruit clusters. I'll spray again when the rain passes and hope for a stretch of drought to dry out the soil and encourage the vines to send their roots deeper.

And as for the man made category of distraction: we had visitors. With five kids and three adults, we canoed in south-central Missouri and spent some time outdoors, always a healthy thing to do. Children make it an adventure, but fortunately the water was low (before the rain) and only one adult took a serious spill.

During the trip I picked up a bottle of Cynthiana (Norton) from an area winery and was a bit disappointed. Cynthiana is the only 100% native varietal I know of that makes a good red wine. It usually fights with high acid, but oak and age can tame this aspect. It traditionally has some spice and dark fruit characters, but this bottle had a vegetative character, including harsh asparagus. I was disappointed in that I've always been a booster of this varietal. Someone trying Cynthiana for the first time would not be won over by the poorly crafted wine I bought. I always will root for a wine, especially from local producers. I'll overlook a flaw or two and focus on the better qualities, but there wasn't much to cheer for here. The winery shall remain nameless.

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