April 2018

April Vineyard JournalThroughout the month of April we are actually pretty busy in the vineyard.  We are in the process of mowing, discing the soil, trellis wire positioning, pruning, shoot positioning, and tying the newly cut canes into position. We are also putting organic seaweed based fertilizer in the soil.

If you have never heard of the term “discing” it’s essentially mowing and rototilling the soil. We have a disc in the back of the tractor that goes about 10 to 12 inches into the ground and turns it over. It is a way to prepare the soil for the growing season by mixing in the nitrogen and nutrients from the grasses that have been mowed. When I talk about “positioning”, I am talking about what we do after pruning.  We do what is called “two bud” spur pruning. When we prune this time of year, we are actually getting ready and positioning for the next year.  We pick out the healthiest looking cane and we count down to two buds from the base of the cordon and then we cut it in between the buds.  That is to set the positioning for the new cane to grow. On each run of the cordon which goes up left and right we do about six clusters per cordon so we are actually doing a total of 12 clusters on a plant. When we start getting suckers, we cut those out and we are always on the lookout for mildew.

We don’t prune when it is wet to minimize the possibility of airborne diseases. Once we start getting bud break we spray to minimize diseases and then we leave the vines alone for the growing season unless it rains. Of course we never spray close to harvest time.  Throughout the season, we fertilize the ground as needed.

Throughout the season we also put out traps for the glassy winged sharp shooter to avoid Pierces disease, which can devastate a vineyard. We have been fortunate with our vineyard over the years, in that we have never had a major problem with pests.  We have never had to spray for pests in our vineyard. Part of the preventative measures are to make sure we do not have standing water. Finally in April, we set up our irrigation for the season and ensure everything is working properly.

That is what is going on at the vineyard.  Talk to you again in next month.


Ron Buoncristiani