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March 18, 2006

First Interview / Installing Catch Wires

Today began early - was out in the vineyard by 8 AM, and what better way to kick off the day than by working on the rock wall at the entrance to the vineyard. Good times. Just did two loads in the new tractor to get the blood flowing, and besides I needed to put a few chips in the paint of the front-end loader - it was a bit too green!

Started installing the catch wires to the trellis. We're going to eventually go with Smart-Dyson configuration, which is a vertically-divided canopy, but until the vines are established there won't be any downward growing shoots, so I'm just installing the upper wires. Six 14-gauge catch wires (three pairs) are nailed to the posts spaced at 8" - 10" - 10" above the cordon wire (which is 42" from the ground). Each pair is tied to the post at one end and crimped at the other end into a tensioner, which is then attached to the other end post with 12.5-gauge wire and ratcheted tight. Probably best to just have a look at the pictures!

Catch wires tied to end-post

Tensioned end with specs

Since there is so much wire to pull I bought a $50 device that allows me to attach the spool of wire to the hitch of my truck, then I just drive up and down the rows paying it out. I worked on this until noon, then Shannon came by and we had a visit from Paul and Warren from www.VirginiaWineTime.com - a blog about the Virginia wine industry. Great guys and we really enjoyed talking to them, as they are big supporters of our industry. Their respect for the work we've already put into it, as well as their enthusiasm for our future plans meant a lot. They plan on doing a future article for the Shenandoah online paper, so we'll keep an eye out for that.

Paul recorded some of our conversation and actually went to the trouble of posting it as a podcast on their site. Hopefully you'll always be able to access the archive here: March 2006 Entries

So they hung out for about an hour, then it was back to the fun stuff. As anyone who has been reading along with our adventure knows, the first time doing anything in the vineyard is always challenging. Thus when it came down to figuring out how best to build the tensioner connection it took several tries to get it right. By the time I was running out of daylight I had only finished one row. That pace is NOT going to work given the limited amount of weekends I have! Hope to do better tomorrow...

Posted by Stephen at March 18, 2006 9:40 PM