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Summer: A Season of Growth in the Vineyard

Sum­mer — one of the most sat­is­fy­ing sea­sons for the vine­yard. Warm weath­er brings vig­or­ous growth on the vines as fruit con­tin­ues to improve. The trick to farm­ing at this point in the year is to pay atten­tion in order to ensure a suc­cess­ful har­vest and even­tu­al­ly, pro­duce supe­ri­or wines.

Sum­mer days are spent prepar­ing the vines for har­vest as they swell with fruit. Observ­ing vine health is a key com­po­nent to suc­cess; mov­ing about the vine­yard blocks check­ing leaves, shoots, branch bal­ance, clus­ter devel­op­ment, and keep­ing an eye on the irrigation.

June Viti­cul­ture: Qual­i­ty over Quantity
Our focus in June is address­ing the canopy of the plants, which is exact­ly as it sounds, those wild leafy vine branch­es that shoot up and pro­tect the fruit as it devel­ops. We work to make sure the canopy doesn’t get out of con­trol, because exces­sive shoots draw unnec­es­sary ener­gy from the vine itself. The bal­ance of the vine is essen­tial to ensur­ing Qual­i­ty Over Quan­ti­ty”. Each vine requires prop­er shoot place­ment so the vine is bal­anced; shoots must orig­i­nate even­ly to avoid sparse areas which can result in sun­burn. Con­verse­ly, over­growth can cre­ate too much shade and drawn on the vine’s nutri­ents cre­at­ing stress and low­er­ing the fruit qual­i­ty. The cor­rect canopy bal­ance coin­cides with a prop­er fruit load on each vine. In order to pro­duce the best wine, you have to start with the best grapes, and June is the opti­mal month to guar­an­tee great wines are made from this fruit. 

July Viti­cul­ture: No Stress
Now that we’ve laid the ground­work for prop­er growth, July brings fur­ther pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures by address­ing crop yield and sun­burn issues. As our vine­yard approach­es its fourth grow­ing sea­son, over-stress­ing the vines is the main con­cern this month. Dur­ing the 2022 grow­ing sea­son, we opt­ed to drop grapes onto the ground to main­tain just one clus­ter per posi­tion (or shoot growth) on the vine; our goal is to have around 10 clus­ters per vine. Yes, we get that tech­ni­cal with this vine­yard. The rea­son­ing behind this atten­tive­ness is sim­ple: a light crop enhances the fla­vors and col­or in each berry. Drop­ping the super­flu­ous clus­ters in mid-July allows an oppor­tu­ni­ty to cut off any sun­burned fruit affect­ed by the first heat­wave of sum­mer. Too much direct sun­light can burn the grape skins or bleach out the col­or of the skin around the berries, which results in incon­sis­tent col­or or taste in the wine.

When vines are young — like the ones in our new Thibido Vine­yard — they pro­duce the high­est qual­i­ty fruit when the vine is respon­si­ble for nour­ish­ing and devel­op­ing a rea­son­able num­ber of grape clus­ters. Too many clus­ters on the vine cre­ates stress spread­ing the young plant’s nutri­ent resources too thin, result­ing in low­er qual­i­ty grapes and low­er qual­i­ty wine. This can set the vine up for a future of medi­oc­rity if the grow­er isn’t careful.

Stay Tuned for Wine Knowl­edge Fun!
Read care­ful­ly because there’ll be a quiz! That’s right, we’re intro­duc­ing our first Wine­mak­ing and Wine Grow­ing Quiz based upon the arti­cles we share in our newslet­ters. Be sure to read Josh’s first arti­cle in this series A Syrah for All Palates: Car­bon­ic Wine­mak­ing” and be on your toes to test your knowledge.