This blog's purpose is to chronicle events in our vineyard, winery, and culture.
Today is December 12, 2006. The vines are dormant. Last week we spread a mixture of manure and composted grape pomace into every other row, the other rows having been planted to a mixture of grasses and legumes. It is important for the health of our vineyard to build up the levels of organic materials because much of our soil is very sandy and the organic materials help the soil hold moisture and nutrients longer. Tests of our vines show that even without additional fertilizers the plants have sufficient nitrogen for good growth. This is an organic method of fertilization which is successful in our vineyard.
Production in our Orange Muscat vineyard (planted in 1982) is declining due mainly to nematodes (microscopic worms which feed on the roots), and to Eutypa, a fungus disease which attacks the woody parts of the vine. Since beginning the program of compost and cover cropping, the vines seem to be doing better in the sandy areas - where the nematodes are most severe. We prefer to use organic farming methods as much as practicable in our sustainably managed vineyard.
The picture on the left is of the end view of a healthy row of vines in loamy soil. The soil to the left of the vine row has been spread with a composted mix of pomace and manure. The soil to the right has been planted to cover crop. Note the length of the canes. In order to control weeds without chemical weed controls, weed fabric (made from discarded tires) has been laid down between the vines.
The vine row to the right is in the sandy area of the vineyard. Notice the shorter canes. Composted pomace and manure and ground cover are important amendments to this soil which is very low in organic matter.