I’m excited to see so many bunches, and see them all developing a beautiful rich purple color. I ate one on Sunday- chewed it and spit it out at least. Definitely a grape- bitter- but with a hint of sweetness. Thick skin, flimsy seed.
I‘ll close with this shot of the first turned leaf in the vineyard. A short while left for this season.
SO the vineyard is doing great! A ton of growth, pretty evenly across the whole yard, row 1 (North Row) is stronger, by about 25%, I have to chalk this up to its full sun and slightly better soil. But we have grapes on all vines!
You can see the evolution here- in their 2nd year fruit us present, and I’m super happy- as the book has said that it might take 3 years. Either way you can see that from late April- to May we have the first fruit start to develop- tiny bunches of berries . After a month they’ve grown to hearty bunches- and as of just the other day they’re getting ell rounded, heavy and firm- Ill keep updating this as they grow!
And here is the vineyard as of 6/4. You can see the North row #1 (on the right) has quite a bit more volume of branches and leaves. However both rows are still producing well.
SO I keep track of all weather data for our area, with the hopes that it will give me clues for reference on the final terroir of our wine. I had been tracking a personal weather station about a mile from our vineyard for the first year, via the Weather Underground. You can track our station- KCASANPA7 here: https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCASANPA7
SO! It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to update you on McMorrow Cellar’s…partly because not much happened over the Winter months, and partly because we’re expecting our newest addition the cellars- soon the pitter patter of little feet will be heard running through the vines!
Anyway here are a few updates:
This is mid-December- we got a ton of rain which is awesome- so I got to turn the sprinklers off for a few months- here you see the leaves in full Autumnal turn, and baby greens rising from the fertile soil.
Our left hand-South row- lost their leaves sooner- partially because they never did come in as strong as the North Row- and the gusty winds blew their leaves away faster.
So Fall is probably my most favorite time of year. The colors, the weather and the start of the Holidays. SO too now Fall now descends on the vineyard. I am starting to see the leaves change, and an over all slow down of shoot growth as they go into a period of root establishment. This is what the book tells me anyway.
Every vine now has bark, this #7 pictured above has become the most prolific vine in the yard. It’s stalk has thickened quite a bit and its bark is really strong. This is going to fortify it during the coming cooler months and get it through the frosty night’s/mornings of January and February.
I’d now like spend a few moments highlighting some of the other things growing in the vineyard. I left as many of the existing plants/trees/shrubs in their place when I installed the vineyard. Biodiversity is a good thing for the health of the vines and now that it is fall we have some really beautiful things growing in tandem with the vines.
SO #9 has been having problems, for about 2 weeks now it has been limp and drooping and there had been nothing I could do to revive it- than a week ago #14 started doing the same thing- just like sudden vine death or some other weird phenomenon. Anyway after treating them with extra water, daily- which brought other vines back to life previously they were in real trouble. I gave them a healthy dose of Super Thrive with a bunch of water and some 16-12-16 fertilizer but to no avail- I have officially pronounced them dead.
What is the most sure sign that they’re done for is the lack of any new or renewed green lower on the stock- these guys have had it and for no outwardly apparent reason. So I will replace them with 2 of the 3 extra bare-root vines I got, and Ill trim their old stocks down and try to bring them back to life in a separate pot, similar to the 4 I removed (3 of which now show new growth). I’ll document the transplant and post it shortly.
After 30 days of being surrounded by soil to the tips, the new bare-root vines are ready to lose their shorings and receive permanent housing! I picked today- June 8- Forecasted to be in the 90º range as their day. All 7 have new strong shoots and are reaching toward for the heavens. #6, #16, #19 and #21 are now set up with their stakes, dippers and housing, and will be on the daily 25 minute schedule. The 3 spare vines are doing great in their individual buckets as well as 3 of the 4 that had previously been pronounced dead are showing new signs of life. I’m deciding what to do with these- perhaps put them in a trough with their own trellis in the backyard. We’ll see.
Here are the spare 3- I learned that shoring up the vine with soil 2-3 inches above the tip was the best move, I’ll keep that in mind for the next vineyard.
the old 4- 3 of which have bud break, we’ll continue to monitor their progress.
After 17 days in the ground, Im finally starting to see some growth from my new vines! There are bud breaks on all 7 new vines and I’m happy to see them. They are beautiful. I think this weekend I’ll take off their support boxes and put their soil back into the ground around them, I’ll put their houses back around the, and steak it in and see what happens.
After 4 days of keeping my new Bare-root vines in the garage, misting them gently with clean water 4 times a day and generally giving them the life of luxury- it was time to put them in the earth.
I dug hole 12-14 inches deep, removed the old vines- and planted the new ones over a cone-shaped mound of fresh soil, back filled them in with more new soil and temped them down, leaving the graft union 4-5 inches above the ground. I used Nature’s Own, an organic garden soil made by Miracle Grow, and made sure they soil in their hole were at least 50% moisture- then irrigated them each with ¼ gallon of water w/ a Vitamin B1 mix.
Per Nova Vine’s instructions I covered the remaining vine all the way with loose soil, so that none of the vine is visible- I rigged up some cardboard houses to surround the vines to fill with soil so they’d stay covered. Ill remove the soil and place their housing on w/ a guide stake when the first new growth comes through the soil. I put the extra 3 vines in their own buckets and did the same with them incase they are needed, as well as putting all 4 dead vines in they’re own bucket just to see if I can resurrect them. I trimmed them and watered them with Super Thrive to see if they can sprout again. The main issue I could see is that the roots hadn’t ventured out past their original potted cone- they just didn’t set in the dirt.
Here you can see the 4 that didn’t make it- I trimmed off there dead leaves and we’ll see what they can do!
SO today I got my 7 replacement vines from NovaVine. These are bare-root stock. The same strain of Cabernet Sauvignon 1103P, just without pot or dirt. Immediately I noticed the branches are much thicker and have bark on them already, the roots are super strong and hearty, and the graft unions are extremely strong. They came in a bed of damp wood shavings, as they are supposed to stay moist.
Ill be keeping them in the garage until either Friday or Sunday, in order to adjust them to the climate here at McMorrow Cellars- 4-5 days is recommended. I really am only going to plant/replace 6, as 6 are now officially dead- and the 7th I’ll plant in its own pot and keep it as an auxiliary. We’ll see.