It has been way too long since my last post - but I have good reason. Since the dramatic change in color with our Pinot Noir fruit, there has been an increase in the bird population on the property and much more pressure to get some netting out rather than get another diary post out.
So here is what has been going on:
Rolling Out The Nets
Once veraison started, it was time to minimize the damage to the fruit. Birds of all types can contribute to a myriad of problems including higher disease pressure or turning a cluster to vinegar. To avoid this, we have to protect the fruit: especially red varieties, and especially those that ripen early such as Pinot Noir. There are several different types of nets that can be deployed - nets that cover multiple rows, cover one row, or nets that cover the fruit zone. We selected the type of nets that cover the fruit zone which will allow us to continue driving the tractor down the rows without issue. Also, we will be able to simply roll up the netting and connect it to the trellis wire at the end of the season - so that in years to come, we can simply release the nets and drop them into place.
Leaf Removal In The Fruit Zone
Another critical step for the success of a tight cluster variety like Pinot Noir is the removal of leaves in the fruit zone. This step allows for proper air drainage along with sunlight penetration to dry the fruit out more rapidly when we have either rain or morning dew. However, we must be careful of the quantity of leaves removed along with the side of the canopy from which the leaves are pulled. Typically, when rows run South to North, we would only want to remove leaves on the Eastern side of the row in order to avoid having the grapes be damaged with sunburn from the more intense afternoon sun. Pictured is our assistant, Conor, removing the Eastern leaves from the fruit zone on the middle block of our vineyard.
Prepping For Harvest
There are a number of little things that need to be cleaned up, oiled up, and double checked to make sure they are still in working condition. Most of our harvest equipment is used in a span of 6 weeks, so now is a good time to start cleaning out the cobwebs and testing it out. It should only be a few weeks before the first fruit arrives so the pressure is on!
Pinot Noir Clusters 7/27/12
Pinot Noir Clusters 8/15/12