Summer in the vineyards appears to be a quiet time with very little happening. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is the time when grapes are turning from their vegetative cycle to their ripening cycle. The rapid shoot growth in the first couple of months was followed by bloom and fruit set. Berries sized up rapidly and the clusters began fill. During this time spraying, primarily for mildew, was done. This is typically done every two weeks. The rapidly growing shoots were, in trellised vineyard, positioned for optimum exposure to the sun. Extra shoots and laterals off of the main canes were removed by hand. Vegetative growth on the vineyard floor was either mowed or removed. This was even more important in this drought year as weeds compete with the vines for available moisture. In some vineyards, an early crop thinning was done as well. Now, as the grapes enter verasion (essentially the ripening phase) and take on color, most thinning will take place. Whether defect thinning (not enough leaves on a shoot to ripen the cluster, bloom and set either much earlier or later than the majority or other defects) or to balance the crop, it is an essential task to optimize quality. Barring any late season rains, the final sprays will be applied. Clusters will be counted and weighed in order to calculate yields. If more than optimum, another round of thinning may occur. Irrigated vineyards will see small, carefully calculated waterings. While the old adage of “stressed vines make better wines” has some truth in it, the vines need enough green leaves until harvest to properly photosynthesize and produce grapes that are truly mature and not simply dehydrated. Beyond that,it is a time of simply watching, waiting and hoping that months of hard labor will, with a little help from mother nature, pay off and yield another beautiful harvest!
Rod Berglund Owner, winemaker Joseph Swan Vineyards
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