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October 4, 2003

Extension Agent

Today we had Jason Murray out to visit the property. Jason works for the Virginia Cooperative Extension and specializes in vineyards. He also runs several mailing lists that we subscribe to that keep us informed as to local vineyard/winery events such as tours, tastings, etc.

Had a great meeting - he was out for about two hours during which time we toured the property, discussed topography and site selection, and informed him of our desired varietals (Viognier and Cabernet Franc to start) both of which we was very supportive. He seemed very encouraged by the layout of the land, although did point out a few low-lying spots that might be problematic in terms of frost pockets and standing water. We had already identified these areas through our own research, but it is always reassuring to have a pro back up your notions.

He took a few soil samples and was pleased with his visual inspection. Didn't do any chemical analysis though. We sat outside the house for about an hour discussing trellising and training techniques, and ended up deciding on 8' row widths and 6' vine spacing on VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioning) trellis. Talked about the construction process and as Jason had recently installed a vineyard for a friend he had vivid images fresh in his mind. Always good to hear about the tough things as a reality check.

We also talked about different root stocks. This was our first exposure to this topic so we listened intently and Shannon took notes. Jason advised we look to 101-14, 110C, 3309, and possibly Riperia Gloire as rootstocks suitable for our land.

It was a great meeting, both encouraging and educational. Looking forward to working with Jason more in the future!

Posted by Stephen at 3:00 PM