After what felt like a never ending winter, with a record breaking snowfall, an ice storm, and then a very cold and wet spring, we finally made it to May and now, at long last, summer is approaching. Due to our unusually wet and cold spring, we, along with all our fellow local farmers, experienced a rather delayed start to the season. Bud break on our vines was almost three weeks later than it was last year. Thankfully we are specializing in sparkling wine and don’t have to worry about our grapes reaching high brix (sugar) levels. This shorter season will likely have an impact on that!
On the positive side, the delayed spring left us ample time get all the pruning done. As this is our ‘experimental’ plot, we decided last year to spur prune to see if there was any differences in the vines’ production. What we found was last year, we had exceptionally lower yields. While this may have been attributed to a number of reasons (for example, the fertility in the soil; the heavy rains during flowering, etc.), we decided to go back to cane pruning this year to see if this will help our situation.
We found that in our climate and with these vines, cane pruning seems to work quite well. After the pruning was done, we then tied all the cordons along the fruiting wire so they would be ready to go once the weather finally warmed up.
Once that was done, and the weather did begin to warm up, we began working the land for out new 2.5 acre plot. In this plot, we have decided to plant more Acadie Blanc (as we have fallen in love with this vine and wine) as well as a few rows of Dornfelder. Dornfelder is a German red variety, which we think may grow well in our climate. We intend to use this for our rosé wines, or perhaps a sparkling red (!).
After a couple rounds of tilling, the transit came out and we began measuring and staking each of our future rows.
Then, it was ‘all hands on deck’! We had basically one month to get everything done before the vines arrived.
Once all the stakes were accurately placed, we had a collective sigh of relief, and could then move on and begin to pound the posts in.
But… problems with the post pounding machine began (of course). We were delayed even more. After some time it was finally working and we were able to get the posts into the ground.
After all of this, we basically had one week left to dig approximately 3000 holes before the vines would arrive and need to be planted. While we attempted at first to dig the holes ourselves, we learned rather quickly that we would never get it done in time. So, we hired the machine to do it for us. But… this led to more problems and even more delays. The vines had arrived and needed to go into the ground, but we only have half of the holes dug.
Planting day came and thankfully the machine began to work again and we were able to get all the remaining holes dug and everything planted in that one day! Amazingly, we actually did it!!
And within a few weeks, they have already begun to spring to life. This marks the next phase of this crazy adventure for us….We have just doubled our vineyard (and workload) to 5 acres!
We had an absolutely beautiful fall this year – filled with days of sunshine and colored by our vineyard turning from green to gold.
Now, with the harvest behind us and our wine aging in our stainless steel tanks, we have the time to start planning ahead. Our long-term goal is to be a 17 acre vineyard, which means we have a stretch to go from our current 2.5 acre test plot. So, this winter we ordered over 3000 more vines to plant this spring! Most of these vines will be L’Acadie, as our test plot has proven that these vines grow really well, are resistant to disease and mildew, and produce an amazing wine. We have also ordered some Dornfelder, which is actually a German variety used to produce red wine! We will likely use our Dornfelder to produce a rosé, but in good years, we may actually be able to produce an elegant and light bodied red (something similar to a Beaujolais).
To prepare for the planting, we had to measure and stake out 3 more acres.
Once it was staked out, we plowed. This field has never been anything but cow pasture, so the beautiful organic soil will be perfect for our baby vines come spring.
While staking out our next vineyard plot, we decided to also stake out our future tasting room. We intend to have the tasting room overlooking this vineyard, so everyone can come to enjoy a glass of wine while looking at the very field where the grapes were grown. We have also left a small garden area between the tasting room and our vineyard, which has the potential to host wedding ceremonies or wine club member events, like long table dinners.
On the other side of the tasting room will be our picnic area, under the beautiful old purple maples that my Grandpa planted years ago. Although we are excited and eager to move ahead with the tasting room, we have chosen to take a much slower path in order to keep things manageable for the time being (as we all still have our day jobs). Our intention, however, is to start building sometime in 2019 and to be open to the public by summer of 2020! In the meantime, we keep moving ahead…one step at a time.