Starting a new vineyard

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
Re the vineyard floor and weed control.

For this season, I am going with bare dirt - which means I’ve got some serious weeding to finish up. We were about 2/3 of the way through the vineyard before our scheduled East Coast vacation. 15 large black plastic bags so far. boulders are getting moved under the wire as we go.

Next I am planning to pick up the boulders with my to be purchased tractor and run a rock rake through the aisles in an effort to reduce the current rock collection.

Planting any kind of cover crop now isn‘t practical given we won’t have meaningful rain until November or December if we are lucky - and we are heading into the 100+ degree months.

Based on my original soil tests, I need to build up the organic matter in the soil and the nitrogen. I’ll rerun those tests in August or September and will then plant a winter cover crop based on the results the first time real rain is in the forecast. I’ll probably add some compost at that time as well.

Then I need to decide what to do for next spring after the winter cover crop is terminated. Some of my neighbors disc the rows, others mow their cover crops short and let them die off. I don’t know at this point. More research and work to do…
 
Last edited:

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
Re the vineyard floor and weed control.

For this season, I am going with bare dirt - which means I’ve got some serious weeding to finish up. We were about 2/3 of the way through the vineyard before our scheduled East Coast vacation. 15 large black plastic bags so far. boulders are getting moved under the wire as we go.

Next I am planning to pick up the boulders with my to be purchased tractor and run a rock rake through the aisles in an effort to reduce the current rock collection.

Planting any kind of cover crop now isn‘t practical given we won’t have meaningful rain until November or December if we are lucky - and we are heading into the 100+ degree months.

Based on my original soil tests, I need to build up the organic matter in the soil and the nitrogen. I’ll rerun those tests in August or September and will then plant a winter cover crop based on the results the first time real rain is in the forecast. I’ll probably add some compost at that time as well.

Then I need to decide what to do for next spring after the winter cover crop is terminated. Some of my neighbors disc the rows, others mow their cover crops short and let them die off. I don’t know at this point. More research and work to do…
So no permanent grass? Is that because of the climate and water requirements? Here in the Midwest it seems all the vineyards have permanent grass cover and are mowed. I planted grass and will add much rows about two feet wide under the wire to reduce competition.
 

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
I have a hard time keeping my lawn alive with a full on sprinkler system. Currently each zone is 45 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week. I will be bumping up to one hour soon.

In Paso Robles, we get essentially no rain from May to November. So it’s all well water to keep grass alive.
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
I have a hard time keeping my lawn alive with a full on sprinkler system. Currently each zone is 45 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week. I will be bumping up to one hour soon.

In Paso Robles, we get essentially no rain from May to November. So it’s all well water to keep grass alive.
In that case forget the grass. Conserve your water. I would probably go with a seasonal cover crop like you mentioned then mow it down and let it die off during the dry season. I don’t know if they make no-till seeders narrow enough for between the rows but that would be ideal… no tillage required.
 

VinesnBines

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
1,061
Reaction score
1,242
Isn’t it amazing the difference in climates? In the Virginia mountains we fight the grass almost all year. I sprayed burnout herbicide in late May and now you can’t tell I ever touched any weeds under the vines. We had to mow the asides twice in late May, just to keep it under control. On the plus side no irrigation needed tho fungi love it!
 

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
And I mowed once just to make the weeds shorter before pulling them out. First time all year.
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
No irrigation here either. I’ve been mowing the lawn twice a week since late April. And I never water. If it browns that’s just a break for me. Two days after it rains it will be green again!
 

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
Hmm - someone didn’t get the memo about year one being about root and trunk development.

So do I need to open each and every growtube to see if there are grapes inside?

FD9C3EED-6047-49CB-A26C-11F88E366D74.jpeg
 
Last edited:

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
Hmm - someone didn’t get the memo about year one being about root and truck development.

So do I need to open each and every growtube to see if there are grapes inside?

View attachment 90334
We have found some too. my wife has smaller arms than me so she has been reaching inside the tubes to pinch off flower clusters but I’m sure some have escaped detection. We were told to remove the tubes in mid August to let the vines harden off so I guess we’ll remove the rest then.
 

Dennis Griffith

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2018
Messages
938
Reaction score
1,300
Location
Hillsboro, Ohio
Each year, as I root new cuttings, many of these sprout a florescence along with the new growth. I always pinch them off. I guess they are just programmed to reproduce. I don't let any vine under the age of 3 produce anything other than leaves and roots. And even at 3, if they don't look hardy enough, I let them go another year. I put tags on young vines as a reminder to pinch off any fluorescence/clusters I see. That's my schedule :h
 

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
So in late June and into July we were on vacation on the East Coast - visiting the kids. Vineyard was on automatic watering so I figured things would be fine...

Well, I returned to find that someone was pruning my vines for me ...

I put up a couple of video cameras to see who was responsible....

vineyard camera 2.jpg
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
So in late June and into July we were on vacation on the East Coast - visiting the kids. Vineyard was on automatic watering so I figured things would be fine...

Well, I returned to find that someone was pruning my vines for me ...

I put up a couple of video cameras to see who was responsible....

View attachment 90856
Mmmmmmm venison 😋
 

VinesnBines

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
1,061
Reaction score
1,242
It seems late in the year; mine like the new shoots in the spring and late fall. Maybe the sprinkler caused some new growth.

Welcome to the world of viticulture - farming in general - the never ending wildlife battle.
 

GSMChris

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
96
This is all new growth - they were planted in April and May. So I suspect this is a real delicacy this time of year.

They seem to be focusing on Syrah and Zin so it does seem fair.
 
Top