Vineyard Diary (updated 6-20-07)

The last month has been dry (as expected) and generally quite pleasant–just a handful of hotter days that have portended the higher heat to come.  The vineyard has never looked better this far into the season for us, a sign that we might actually be learning something.  Particularly gratifying has been the general health of block 4 barbera, which mostly sits on a shallow quartz vein and has, in the past, produced little fruit for us.  We have successfully passed the most critical time for mildew prevention, so the main focus for the balance of the season will be watering appropriately and modulating fruit loads to targets.  The fruit is set in both vineyards, with the berries in a rapid growth phase, and shoot growth slowing.  Based on casual observation, it appears that fruitload in the barbera is naturally lower than last year, which will mean less fruit for us to drop manually.  But that’s okay, because some weeds in the rows have once evaded our modest prevention efforts and will give us something to do to fill our copious spare time in 90-degree plus mid-summer days.   We will also be devoting a little more time training vines in the port vineyard to make sure that is well-positioned to produce a first commercial crop next year.