VineStress - A blog about starting a wine label from scratch in Oregon... Home | About | Wine and Vine News | Links | Subscribe

Sunday, January 6, 2008

January vineyard calendar

After two seventy degree days, all of the recent snow cover is gone. The ice that you can see on these Norton vines has melted. It's strange weather for early January, and I hope it doesn't begin to deacclimate the vines before a new cold snap. Would be much better for the vines if it were to get cold and stay cold. As I sit here now I see a brown bat circling outside, something I've never notice before this time of the winter, and also never this early in the day. Aren't they supposed to hibernate? I picked up a tick in the vineyard today as well. All this strange weather comes after my local power company mailed us an entire magazine denouncing climate change. They say it's just a frenzy stirred up for political purposes, and that it's a way for university scientists to score grants. Here's a quote: "Global Warming has become a $4 billion per year industry." Oh, and how many billions did Exxon bring home last year? Forty-something, I believe. That's the fossil fuel racket; they'll say anything to keep the dough rolling in. Sorry for getting off track. You can always trust your local coal pusher when it comes to sound climate science, right?

Well, I'll still pretend like it's a typical January and mid-winter rather than spring. Here's my vineyard calendar for this month.

  1. Make a pre-planting checklist of everything that needs to happen before the new vines arrive from the nursery in March

  2. Place order for all of required planting/trellis materials

  3. Review reference materials: is there anything new that has been published? Are there new editions of materials such as the trusty spray guide?

  4. Pre-prune heartier varietals. I wouldn't touch vinifera varietals until March if possible, though, to help delay budbreak. Right now I'm just doing a little clean-up on Nortons.

  5. Check your applicator/chemical license to ensure it's up to date and place order for all early season sprays. I'll now include a March application of soybean oil to help delay budbreak. This is on top of the usual early lime-sulfur sprays

  6. Review your business plan and see how you're making progress on long-term goals

  7. Meet with your accountant to get paperwork ready for tax season

  8. Cook and eat well, and drink lots of good wine

To augment my final item, I should mention that my recent favorite budget-friendly finds are a Clare Valley Austrailan Riesling and Primus, a Carmenere, Cab Sauv and Merlot blend from Chile. Both around ten bucks. The Riesling was un-German. Not that I have anything against the German version, but this was bone dry and raw, maybe even a bit of straw or grass. Many folks don't like those characteristics, but I thought it was interesting on top of the the typical melon and citrus of the cooler climate versions, and it also might hint at the kind of Riesling that might develop in our hot summer conditions here in Missouri. I already want to amend my vine order and plant some. It's a tendency you have to learn to fight, otherwise you'll wind up with twenty rows of different grapes and twenty different budbreaks, veraisons, harvests, etc, plus not enough of anything to make a barrel.

No comments:

Sort by topic