Friday, October 31, 2008
The harvest is over now. We pulled in 11 tons of vinifera this year. The harvest lasted about 6 weeks. We have about 10 barrels of red and 8 barrels of white wine from our estate vineyards. The long hang time this year will really make a complex wine and we will keep you updated as it matures in the barrel.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
So I am testing the Chardonnay on Saturday before Labor Day. Normally, this Saturday we have a party for friends on the Labor Day Saturday. This year we decided to punt. We are too busy and decided maybe a every other year is best. The test of 100 berries in the middle of the Chardonnay bloc comes out to 21.5 brix. Nice I think! Then as the weekend unfolds, the hurricane Gustav is bearing in on New Orleans. Then the weather people start predicting that moisture from this storm would go North to Arkansas and Missouri. On Sunday, I take a group of folks from Avenues Bistro to see the vineyard. The vineyard is dry and sunny. As the weekend continues to be stormy in the Gulf, I began to compile the data. This storm is going to dump 6 inches of rain on Kansas City area. I have grapes that are very prone to late season rot especially Sour Rot. This rot has no spray to prevent nor to eliminate after infection. The best is the ability to prevent the other rots: bunch rot, bitter rot and berry rot. This I have been doing, but....this late in the season, the skins of the Chardonnay especially are very thin. Sour rot can start in the vineyard and wipe out the vineyard in a week. On Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, I make the decision to pick. On Tuesday nite, the rain begins. On Wednesday morning, I pick up a crew of 3 workers at 6am. We begin to pick the Chardonnay in the rain. We finish the day with 1.5 ton in 5 rows. With 14 rows in this bloc, 3 workers the next day is not going to be sufficient. I double the number to 6 pickers, and on Thursday at 11am the rain finally stops. The productivity of picking sky rockets. We finish with about 4 macro-bins of about 1,000 pounds each at 330pm. We end up with 3.5 tons total of gorgeous fruit.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Oh, by the way here is Corky in action:
I have not worked with Grenache but these cluster are large. I hand weighed a few and they are over a pound. In spite of the large cluster, the taste is superb and the tannin is a keeper. I like the fruit so much that I planted an additional 1/3 acre this spring. Mataro, another name for Mourvedre is a good variety for Missouri. Let's keep this a secret. Because I would rather be the only grower of this super varietal in this part of the country. As a member of the Rhone Rangers and probably the only in Missouri, this is unbelievable.
Oh, also here is our new puppie, Sophie. She is a wheaton colored scottie dog and she loves to hunt:
Friday, July 18, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
On this Saturday, the last day of May, I had two workers waiting for me to open up the barn. So as usual I go to the side door of the red barn and go inside. On the other end of the barn is two large sliding doors. So as I walked through the barn I saw a larger animal dart out from the opening in the barn by the doors. This opening is about 1 foot so a larger animal can go through this easily. My first thought was that it was a rather large rabbit. I have seen rabbits many times in the barn. So I proceeded to open the large doors for the workers: Roberto and Raul. Roberto speaks very good English. They proceeded to tell me that it was not a rabbit, it was a Bob Cat!!
Suckers are the shoots that emerge from ground to the cordon canes on the trunks. These shoots are not needed for fruit development or training. Therefore a requirement of sucker removal is essential this time of year. Another reason to remove the suckers is so that leaves on the suckers are not in the way of herbicide spraying to maintain a clean turf. We finished Kati bloc suckering and will finish Stealth Ridge and Limestone Hill next week if we are not dinner for the cats!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Also I bought a new wand that is 30" long so that I don't have to lend over as much while doing this from the tractor.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I believe there are two factors for this quick success. First, having the growing tray off the ground thus allowing the soil to warm up in the tray. I had a glass table with a plastic tray. Second, the use of rooting hormone. The hormone kicks the callusing process in high gear. Now once the cuttings leaf off and develop longer roots you will need to move to a larger area to permantly plant your grapevine.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Here is a picture of my new airblaster sitting in my pickup truck:
Now this new airblaster has 150 gallon tank and sprays on both side at the same time. The guys at the brewery warehouse where I had taken delivery said it looked like a "Back to the Future" truck. I will have more posts to the blog to show you all the spraying and my gas mask. I cannot wait to use the new airblaster.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Anyway, in return for my help, Vicki sent me cuttings of Zinfandel and Sangiovese. Both of these varieties I don't grow here in KC area since they are a little winter tender. I would love to do the Italian thing and plant Sangiovese or Nebbiolo vines. However, most people think I am crazy for Cab Franc, Malbec, Mourvedre etc.
So when you want to get a cutting to root, you first take a cutting from your pruning pile that is about a pencil in diameter as you can see here:
As you notice this length is a little longer than a pruner and has about 6-8 buds on it. You then cut on a slight angle just below a bud and it should look nice and green. As you see here:
Next you take the freshly cut end and dip it into a rooting hormone. You can buy this at many nurseries or places that sell plants and trees. This will assist in the cutting to throw out roots or begin to callus on the end.
Next, put the end with the hormone powder on it in the ground about 3 to 4 inches. In about 3-5 weeks the cutting will callus and put out a root. Some of the buds sticking out of the ground will throw a shoot and then you can transplant to a spot in the vineyard or your garden. I have many cutting going from what Vicki sent me and I will give you a progress report in a month.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Here is the result of the slitting:
With the pickup truck loaded with landscape timbers that serve as the in-line posts, the truck got stuck in the mud. Being very ambitious, I wanted to bring the timbers just next to the rows and strategically drop off 3 timbers at each location. It was not to be, the truck got stuck in the mud up to the bottom of the door. We had to pull the truck out with the '57 Ford 800 tractor.
The truck got very dirty and required two runs in the car wash on Sunday:
And here is row #49 after the pruning. It took approximately 2 hours to pruning the 250 foot row of Chardonnay. Notice how neat and clean the row now looks. Once the flail mower is fixed, (a upcoming blog post) the cuttings that litter the vineyard aisles will be ground up and mulched back to the soil.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I have only 3 of 58 rows left to finish the pruning. This is the first year that Kati bloc has required the extensive amount of pruning since they are now in the third leaf. I figured out that most plants required 40 cuts with the pruners by hand. Therefore, with approx. 3,000 plants in the vineyard, there was 120,000 cuts made this season. Wow. It's a wonder why my hands are really hurting.