by Ross Allen, Owner & Ag. Operations Manager
January is a special time in the vineyard. The lull of December begins to give way to the next growing season. It is a time to reflect on the prior season and a time to contemplate the upcoming season.
Early January finds our vineyard team walking the vineyard and removing the net clips used to hold the bird netting in place. The nets were taken down in December, and the clips are reused. Once gathered, they are cleaned and inspected so they are ready for the coming summer.
In mid-January, we begin pruning the vines, cutting back the canes, and examining each individual vine to ensure its structure and future growth will be in line with our premium fruit production goals. This process takes about six weeks, and the cut canes are laid on the vineyard floor. Later in the spring when things dry out, we mechanically chop the canes into mulch, which is then tilled into the soil to help maintain the proper amount of organic material in our soil structure.
Even after being a farmer for 30 years, I still get excited about the upcoming season. Every year is different and brings a new set of challenges. Despite 2017’s ups and downs, fruit quality ended on a high note. With our younger vines maturing, I think 2018 is going to be even better.