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March 12, 2005

Fence Pickup, New H Braces, Pruning, Marking

You can tell by the title it was a busy day! Got off to an early start today - had to run up to Frederick, MD to pick up the deer fence invisible net supplies from Deerbusters. You know, actors always say they know they've made the big time when they first see their name in lights. Same thing for our vineyard, if you count being scribbled on a scrap of cardboard...

So I got everything loaded up and headed back to the vineyard. Note - once the entire project is complete I'll post a blog with the final materials list.

Next chore was to rebuild the h-braces at the end of row 1. Nothing major, but I discovered a better way to attach the brace wire without using crimps (found a cool how-to on the Tractor Supply Web site.) To be honest, the brace wire I had installed would have probably been fine, but I just couldn't leave it there knowing it wasn't right. So I loosened the tension by unwinding the twitch stick, then cut out the old wire. The new wire actually gets double wrapped between the end post and the brace post, then twisted around the brace pin and stapled in place - have a look. Now when I twisted the twitch stick the double wrap REALLY takes hold and puts a lot more holding power in the brace. Good times, the rework only took about an hour.

Next up was a bit of lunch - Shannon brought over some sandwiches, drinks and stuff. Nothing like having lunch with your hunny! Doug Fabbioli dropped by at 1:30 for a quick meeting. Agenda items were pruning first-year vines, trellis overview, equipment rentals, and planting timelines. He was there about and hour, and we covered everything so now we're finalizing the schedule with some other vendors. Best part was the pruning lesson - deciding how to cut back the vines to leave the healthiest buds for the upcoming season. Due to the deer pressure last fall most of the vines had to be cut back to 3 buds, but several of the vines were tall enough to leave at the cordon wire.

Here' a look at a vine before pruning that needed to be cut back:
View image

And the after-pruning photo:
View image

Here's a vine that reached the cordon wire, thus it gets cut back to leave the best three buds at the top. View image. When the buds swell later this spring all the buds down the vine will be nicked out to just leave the top three. Thus the part of the vine where the buds get nicked out become the trunk. This will be a single-trunk vine, however we are training some of the other vines in a double-trunk configuration.

So I pruned the first row, then it was time to get back to the deer fence marking. Got out the tape measure, bamboo sticks, and spray paint and worked my way from the very back of the vineyard on up to the road. During this time mom and her buddy Ron stopped in for a visit. Being from Australia, Ron is looking forward to a vineyard visit without the cold wind! Mom had to double-check the measurements to ensure I know how to install a deer fence. Funny thing is that none of us have any idea what the hell we're doing, but moms need to inspect these things anyway! :-)

So I finished up the marking just as the sun was going down - time to head home and chill for the evening!

Posted by Stephen at March 12, 2005 9:34 PM