Spring Fever

Here at Dale Hollow we are just thrilled that spring is finally here! At least the calendar says so; the current temperatures are disagreeing.  What fun activities come with spring? Fishing, chasing turkeys, planting gardens; and, pruning, of course! Asher and Katy may not concur that it falls under the category of “fun”.

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No need to go into details on the “why” of pruning, since this was already covered last year. This year, we can focus on the results! Which is so much more exciting. The picture shown above where you can see a hand holding a freshly pruned vine and a pair of shears demonstrates what we are looking for: green! We pruned back until we found a sign of life (green) in the vine and left enough buds to channel growth upward for a trunk this year. We are a little proud to report that there is substantial life at the vineyard. We were fortunate to receive more than adequate moisture last spring and I would put our survival rate above 90% through the first winter. Now we can only hope there is no surprise drastic frost this spring. Cross your fingers!

At the North Vineyard, the goal this growing season is to go through all 1000 plants and cut everything except for 1 or 2 of the previous year’s most prolific shoots in order to train them to be the trunk. Optimally, we would be picking one, and during this growing season we would come through and tie this one shoot to the bottom trellis wire. However, we are still working on the trellis wire part of this plan and picking just one is not as easy as you might think. If you have been following this blog with any consistency, you have probably picked up on the fact that us following the “optimal” blueprints set out in Vines to Wine is akin to Wile E. Coyote following the optimal plans set out by the ACME Corporation. Funny to watch (or read about), but not as humorous if you are in the moment and the Coyote!

Pruning at the South Vineyard is the same as it was in 2013 with one added twist: we are going to attempt to grow Vignoles at the north from cuttings from the south. We hope to section of an area near our vineyard to be designated as a nursery for these attempts. Replanting from our own cuttings is not only economical for the pocketbook but incredibly sustainable.. IF we can make it work! We have heard mixed reports of success rates with doing this; much more to come with our own outcome.

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Now that pruning on both vineyards is complete, we have a beast of a project ahead of us: the trellis. The mammoth posts have been patiently waiting for us at the northeastern section of the property; always looming in a manner that I can only imagine is how the pioneers felt as they went west and could see the mountains coming in the distance.

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The posts are ready and the layout is in place with those familiar orange dots. Bring it on! Before too long, we will be training our young vines to trellis wires and from the trunk of this year, we will hopefully have cordons (arms) next year. It goes without saying around here, but you just never know with the best laid schemes of mice and men. Speaking of training, the youngest member of the family is well on the way to taking orders; let’s just hope we have wine to sell before she is legally able to serve it!

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