Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Success in the new plantings

It's nice to report that all the newly planted vines have taken, have leafed and grown to about a foot tall.  That's a relief. Even the chardonnay test vines have sprouted and actually look more vigorous than the others. Yea!


The original vines planted in 2015 have grown massively this season, as everything else seems to have done, and are flowering profusely, both red and white. We may actually have a small harvest this year. Next year we must prune without reserve. First, we have to learn how.

“Professional wine courses for amateurs or aficionados, using e-learning, so allowing you to follow your course from home, 24/7″.

I have decided to take a course in viticulture and stumbled into an online course. That might be a good first step, but nothing can replace on site experience. So I will keep looking. Shall I choose France and learn from the best, go the America to learn from the innovative (in English), go to England to learn from those with experience in similar conditions, Chile or Argentina for the thrill, or down under for the craic. As with all other aspects of this journey, it will take a bit of research to reach a conclusion.

The European Wine Academy is an international wine academy offering you wine courses and 00 ewa MASTER blog aug 2010education, no matter where you live, using 21st-century e-learning (distance education) on-line methods
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

New vineyard underway


Well the older vines are thriving with lots of tiny flower bunches, the chardonnay test vines are alive and well, and the new solaris vines are all waking up. This is exciting. Much better than watching grass grow.

New chardonnays

Monday, May 15, 2017

They're alive!

Checking on the new vines
Alex pointing out the flower buds

Our vines are sprouting. The two-year old vines are loaded with little clusters of flower buds along with their leaflets and tendrils. This weather has prompted everything to come to life. It's so encouraging to see. Even the little rondo that didn't do much last year has come to life.

The newly planted chardonnay test vines and solaris expansion vines are sprouting, too. It has been an extraordinary month with very little (no) rain and we have not been watering the vineyard. We have been watering the other gardens, vegetable and flower, daily for the past week. Fortunately, last night, the drought was relived and we are to get plenty of rain today. Let's hope it's enough.

Year 3 solaris

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring is sprung

Solaris 3-yo vines
There is so much to be done, and Alex has done half of the major work already. Half the new vines have been dug in. Unfortunately, I cant help much as I have a pinched nerve in my hand causing excruciating pain. The rain has ceased and we have dry but cooler than normal weather. Unfortunately, we also have too many things happening at once: book launches, health issues, holidays, volunteer commitments, lectures, incessant travel. We have work to do on the boat on the garden, on ourselves. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? (What a funny expression!)

Rondo just waking up

New chardonnay, freshly planted and budding

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Building a vineyard

Earlier this week in Daria's Vineyard

Alex has been very busy planting fence posts in the field. He bought a trailer load on Monday and by Friday he had a good number of them planted. That's the hardest part of creating a vineyard. He is working very hard while the vines sit in clumps in the ground awaiting their day in the sun. 

The soil is curious. It has a clay in it that almost feels sandy. We really should have it analyzed to tell us what it is. But our philosophy is that if grapes love poor soil, then these grapes are sure to get it. Fortunately for Alex, the ground is quite soft now and the light NW winds are cooling us off as we work. 

I've been weeding and pruning the vegetable garden. 

Progress made by Friday

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Grape vines have arrived

Bare rooted vines have arrived just as Alex was building the new fence around the field area we set aside for the chardonnay vines. So he quickly planted the chardonnay and started digging in fence posts for the rest, back breaking work. Luckily, he bought the fence posts just the day before yesterday.

The new vines are solaris like the first four we planted experimentally. They've done reasonably well. Alex thinks he had ordered 25 vines, but two bundles of 25 arrived. When we checked the order, we realized he had ordered the 50. That's a lot of holes to dig.

We will now be officially a vineyard with 54 solaris vines, 5 chardonnay and 6 reds. They are Vitis solaris FR60 on SO4 rootstock, clone 31 Op. Full details below.




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Floods and vineyards


When it's climate change and not global warming, what we face is extremes of nature not a gradual shift. This year exemplified how unpredictable the climate has become. After years of drought, vintners in California are treading water wondering what will happen to this years' crop. The Russian River Valley flooded under feet of water and more rain was on the way. Luckily the vines were dormant.

But it wasn't just in California and Nevada that rain wreaked havoc. Australia's Swan Valley and the south of France and Italy experienced periods of heavy downpours and flooding in 2016. And it's become a recurring nightmare.

Fortunately, that's one thing we are not likely to have to worry about as our vineyard is on a nicely sloping hill. All the water runs down to the sea, but we have to ensure that the topsoil doesn't go with it. That's why we have left the grass around the vines. Right or wrong, it's our current choice.