2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Discussions and questions (vintages, winemaking, etc) for those ITB. All are welcome to post.
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Post #201  Postby Casey Hartlip » May 1st 2017, 5:01pm

Hey Joe, how about flower counts?
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Post #202  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 3rd 2017, 2:03pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:Hey Joe, how about flower counts?
I was talking with my neighbor, Jim Frediani, and when I called them "flower formation counts," he said "do you mean bunch counts?" I said folks were talking about flowers, and I was sternly corrected that it was "bunch counts." Flower counts are only made during "flowering" or "bloom." Jesus. We are all talking about the same thing. Call it anything you want. It's those parts of the vine that eventually yield fruit. Comprende?
That aside, the Fredianis are as nice a family as you could ever inherit for neighbors.

I looked at a few vines on my (weaker) eastern side, and I saw lots of single...um...bunches on many shoots. I did not investigate further into the stronger sections of the vineyard because honestly, I have work to do concerning things I can impact. I cannot do anything about these numbers of emerging grape clusters. And since I only bottle/sell what I grow, that is the end of this discussion. Almost....

The cover crop has been turned under, disked, and ring/rolled, and the vineyard looks beautiful. I just took a break and walked out to measure shoots, and many of them are 24" long. Saw many 2s and some 3s. Too hot at over 90 degrees, but in Boston in was 90 degrees one day and HUMID. I hate that.
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Post #203  Postby Casey Hartlip » May 4th 2017, 6:23am

Things drying up and vines growing out quickly. We still have a handful of rows too wet to drive in, but not many now. The crew is jumping from field to field suckering like mad. We finally have some sulfur out there. Tractor drivers are going hard. As long as there are no breakdowns we could start to feel pretty good in 7-10 days from now. Pretty much considering frost season is over....but frost alarms are still on!
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Post #204  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » May 5th 2017, 6:48pm

Glad things are starting to shape up for you. We had a nasty frost event Thursday AM that laid more than a few fruit orchards low. Third year in a row with a bad frost event. More unusual cold coming next week.
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Post #205  Postby Joe Webb » May 6th 2017, 11:17am

Casey Hartlip wrote:Hey Joe, how about flower counts?


They look a bit above average. Mostly 2 clusters per shoot on PN but there quite a few 3's (mostly Pommard 05 and 115) and really no 1 cluster shoots. The next door neighbor vineyard was thinning weak shoots last week, there a bit ahead of us, but we won't do any thinning until after bloom is complete. I certainly hope were done with frost season but we have had some pretty cold nights in the last week. Last weekend during the Boonville Beer Festival it was upper 30's for 2 night, the festival goers were cold.

Big change from just a few days ago from mid 80's last Wed to barely 50 yesterday. 39.9 last night. There could be some interesting weather about 10 days out. I won't be putting in the tomatoes until mothers day or the following week per usual for us. I have been working on some transplanting projects one with some Indian Peaches we have at the tasting room and some black walnuts. The full tree we have and the neighbors got frost burnt at some point, black dead left tips.
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Post #206  Postby Casey Hartlip » May 8th 2017, 7:49pm

Walked almost all of my blocks today. Gruner popping out of the tubes. Another sulfur spray go-round starts tonight. We haven't turned any soil yet. Still mowing and weed spraying like mad. SO glad we're not planting anything on a year like this.

Trying to prioritize my people to be where they can make the most impact. Just about every field needs something done now, the key is to make the right move. Luckily no mechanical breakdowns to date. My folks are in the field at 6:30 am working 9 hour days.

Just when we get a few days of nice weather, there's a cool spell forecast. Will it stay crazy all season? Kind of feels like it.
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Post #207  Postby Joe Webb » May 10th 2017, 11:13am

More mowing and suckering the last couple days. Cooler than average weather is welcome to get caught up and to keep bloom as late as possible. We have started barrel sampling and will begin trial blends on PN later this week.
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Post #208  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 10th 2017, 7:15pm

A cool and grey day, but not raw and no precipitation.

Applying fungicide in the morning, then will do some suckering.

Vineyard looks excellent - even my 5 year struggling replants/grafts are showing promise this year. Vines planted here, I believe, want the traditional rainy season. We had one (well, maybe a bit more than one) this year, but have not for several years. The difference is evident in the growth.
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Post #209  Postby Joe Webb » May 10th 2017, 7:40pm

Merrill, what was the re-entry interval on that fungicide? Same day seems crazy fast.

Stay safe dont expose yourself to chemicals. We double the recommended intervals on everything organic or otherwise.
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Post #210  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 10th 2017, 8:44pm

Joe - it's a 24 hour re-entry, of course. These guys are pros - everything defined and scheduled, and the vineyard will be posted. When I said suckering would be next, I did not mean in the next day. I meant that is what is on the agenda...upcoming.

I know what I am doing, and I hire people who know what they're doing.
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Post #211  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 13th 2017, 6:48pm

Angels appeared in my vineyard - unannounced - early this morning. A gift disk and drag from my wonderful friend and neighbor, Jim Frediani. I had wondered what the noise was out there, got up to check, and what a wonderful way to wake up.

There was a minor frost event early this morning - I only heard a lone wind machine in the area. Maybe 6:00 a.m.?

I did a bit of suckering today - and there is plenty to do - probably I will call in the guys. Growth everywhere, thanks to those long, long days of winter rain.
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Post #212  Postby Casey Hartlip » May 14th 2017, 11:42am

Mow, sucker, spray. Rinse, repeat.

Two tractors going 10 hours a day. Each has a mower and spray rig calibrated especially to it. Only one disk but for now that's fine. Many men and women disbudding as quickly as possible. Raising wires is blended in there now as shoots get longer and we experience some wind damage. It never ends. Tending vines from vines aged one to forty four.
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Post #213  Postby Evan Pontoriero » May 14th 2017, 12:40pm

Cassandra here again [swearing.gif]

No problems yet in the gap as bloom is nearly upon us. Russian River is another story. Bloom started on Chard and Pinot last week and the winds and cool temps have been outrageous. Many nervous growers saying, oh well Mother Nature rules, at least there are large cluster counts to compensate. Fingers crossed.
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Post #214  Postby Paul Gordon » May 15th 2017, 5:04pm

Really cooled down the last 5 days and at least two more sub-60F days predicted for our place. So far we have had 7 nights in May with lows in the 30s. It was 36F Saturday and Sunday mornings. Likely one more tonight.
Growth has stalled with shoots around 6in. The warmer weather later this week will be welcome.
I anticipate flowering the first week of June.
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Post #215  Postby Steve Edmunds » May 15th 2017, 7:32pm

oddly, that's about where things are in the Apple Hill area and also FairPlay. Reminding me of 2011 a bit.
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Post #216  Postby Paul Gordon » May 15th 2017, 7:50pm

Steve Edmunds wrote:oddly, that's about where things are in the Apple Hill area and also FairPlay. Reminding me of 2011 a bit.

Steve

We had been tracking 2012/13 fairly closely until the last 5 days stalled things. A bit of warmth later this week (highs around 70F) should get us back to that '12/'13 pace.
It does not feel as cold as 2011 for us. Which is good because we did not get thru set until mid-July that year!
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Post #217  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 16th 2017, 8:28am

I saw the tiniest fraying at the edges of the flower formations yesterday. I just measured the shoots, and there are many at 36 inches and more. Last year we had full bloom on May 16 - not seeing that! in 2014 bloom started on May 4. Not seeing that! In 2013 we had full bloom on May 14.

This is not acting like 2011 here. That year, we did not see bloom until the last week of May.
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Post #218  Postby William Segui » May 16th 2017, 12:37pm

I've seen full bloom in some CF, just a few end vines in Cabernet. If the weekend forecast holds, I suspect much of the Valley will be game on.
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Post #219  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 16th 2017, 4:41pm

William egui wrote:I've seen full bloom in some CF, just a few vines in Cabernet. If the weekend forecast holds, I suspect much of the Valley will be game on.
Will - shoot me an email and set up a time to have a look here.
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Post #220  Postby Karen Troisi » May 16th 2017, 5:47pm

Rutherford today
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Post #221  Postby Gary Schulte » May 17th 2017, 4:32am

Beautiful plants guys. I'm jealous. Our east coast vines are waking up with auxerrois, chardonnay, chenin blanc, and cab franc at 2-4 inch shoot lengths. The cabernet sauvignon leaves just unfurling and look to be 2 weeks behind everyone else. Cold rain has kept things back a bit except for the weeds. 80s for the next few days should help things move.
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Post #222  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 17th 2017, 7:54am

Karen - your Rutherford photo shows your slightly ahead of mine. But as you know, you can look out and in a moment it's all changed.
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Post #223  Postby Karen Troisi » May 17th 2017, 1:46pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:Karen - your Rutherford photo shows your slightly ahead of mine. But as you know, you can look out and in a moment it's all changed.


I suspect thngs will be moving along quickly over the next week with temps in the low 90's forecast. Just hoping the winds stay calm.
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Post #224  Postby Stewart Johnson » May 18th 2017, 6:49pm

I just started bloom at the top of the vineyard. That's about 10 days later than 2014 and 2016 and 18 days later than 2015. Nice to be back to "normal."
One thing that's not normal this year is the bumper crop of morning glory. It's showing up all over the vineyard, in places where it's never been a problem before. Anybody else seeing that?
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Post #225  Postby Evan Pontoriero » May 18th 2017, 9:09pm

Stewart Johnson wrote:I just started bloom at the top of the vineyard. That's about 10 days later than 2014 and 2016 and 18 days later than 2015. Nice to be back to "normal."
One thing that's not normal this year is the bumper crop of morning glory. It's showing up all over the vineyard, in places where it's never been a problem before. Anybody else seeing that?



Saw a little bit but WTH with the poison oak? It is everywhere. Way more than ever. ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!![swearing.gif]
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Post #226  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 19th 2017, 8:32am

Interesting mention of poison oak. I am highly sensitive to it, and yesterday afternoon saw the tell-tale sign on my wrist. I quickly started to hit it with Tecnu, an over the counter poison oak/ivy oil combatant. It really works well if you get to it early enough.
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Post #227  Postby M Hoose » May 20th 2017, 6:16am

Technu is real good but also consider Zanfel - we've had great success with firefighters exposed to oak and giving them Zanfel
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Post #228  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 20th 2017, 5:15pm

Thanks, Michael. Apparently I was not quick enough...my original poison oak eruption on my wrist has worsened and spread elsewhere. Ugh. I am thinking by Monday I will have to go on prednisone. I have been down this road before.

In the vineyard, the heat is moving the flowering process along nicely. May it be short and sweet. Tons of growth out there. These vines, most of them planted in 1995, expected the kind of rainy winter they had this year (well, not THAT much), but certainly they did not expect to be water stressed year after year. Let's see what lies ahead for the 2017 vintage.
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Post #229  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 22nd 2017, 6:48pm

As a Bostonian, originally, I know what poison ivy looks like. Not so much poison oak. Now I know what it looks like and where it is, and like all other plant growth on steroids due to our huge winter rainfall, it has become a tree.

4 prescriptions to get this thing nailed down...

Flowering is moving along quickly - please let that continue.
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Post #230  Postby Casey Hartlip » May 22nd 2017, 8:54pm

On the very front edge bloom. Hitting everything with one more good blast of wettable sulfur before we get further along into the process. Both men and women crews disbudding as fast as possible. Disbudded the Gruner Veltliner today. Selected the single best shoot on the young vines. Hope to have 85% or more vines up the stake by the end of summer. My crew is doing a great job.
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Post #231  Postby Joe Webb » May 23rd 2017, 1:09pm

After the busiest week non harvest for us with the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival were back at it. We had the warmest days of the year so far this weekend and things are definitely moving along. Doing another round of cutting off SB to get ready to bud it over to clone 115 PN. Things look to cool off a god bit in a couple days thru the holiday. No bloom yet on lavender or PN.
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Post #232  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 23rd 2017, 1:40pm

My neighbor, Frediani, just told me his Charbono is through bloom, I think he also said Grenache. Cab Franc well underway, and Cab starting seriously.

I'll get out tomorrow morning when it is cool to have a re-check on mine - mind you, there is nothing you can do about it! Spent the morning at the winery picking up final pre-bottling samples - everything looks and tastes good, although alcohols rose in the last 3-4 months. Lab error or just stuff that goes on in barrel? Again, nothing to be done - everything is in good order. All within .5% of previous, but noticeable, looking at the labs. Still well sub 14%, which is where I like to be.

We have a new bottling line (in house) so I took capsules and a bottle sample down to make sure we have no glitches on bottling day. Again, all is well. This is a huge planning/purchasing time of year. Glass, glass printing, corks, capsules. Moving all that stuff around - logistics! My winemaking services are paid through these 2015s and even all my 2016 vintage winery charges. Now on to 2017s, which are not through bloom.
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Post #233  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 25th 2017, 3:43pm

The vineyard is in full bloom, with some blossoms already browning at the edges. We won't sucker until late next week - there is a ton of growth out there!

It has been grey and cool all day, with no sunshine at all.

The scent of star jasmine and other blossoming hedges and bushes is filling the air. Peaches are a big as walnuts. The herb garden has bolted and gone by, with the exception of the oregano - nothing knocks off that thing. And the thyme, which is potted. "Annual" petunias and blue salvia wintered over and are in full bloom. The mostly mild winter, along with the tremendous rainfall, has nature on its ear.
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Post #234  Postby William Segui » May 27th 2017, 8:11am

Heater in the house kicked on this AM. Dear Spring, your schizophrenia is getting old.
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Post #235  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 27th 2017, 9:07am

Evan Pontoriero wrote:
Stewart Johnson wrote:I just started bloom at the top of the vineyard. That's about 10 days later than 2014 and 2016 and 18 days later than 2015. Nice to be back to "normal."
One thing that's not normal this year is the bumper crop of morning glory. It's showing up all over the vineyard, in places where it's never been a problem before. Anybody else seeing that?



Saw a little bit but WTH with the poison oak? It is everywhere. Way more than ever. ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!![swearing.gif]
My source (I thought) of poison oak was not poison oak. Perhaps from the fur of one of the cats.

We dug and disked twice already in the vineyard, so it is pretty free of growth. But I checked out what was my tomato and pepper raised box garden, and it is inundated with that morning glory. As I said, the weather conditions this winter have done all kinds of things to what we came to think of as normal (but they were drought years).
I manage this property organically, so spraying the heck out of those weeds is not an option. Got to get someone stronger than I digging.
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Post #236  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 27th 2017, 9:09am

William Segui wrote:Heater in the house kicked on this AM. Dear Spring, your schizophrenia is getting old.
Yes, very cold this morning, but at least here it is sunny! Should be a nice, seasonal weekend to get all kinds of things done.
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Post #237  Postby Joe Webb » May 30th 2017, 4:05pm

Pinot Noir is about 30% thru flowering. None on the SB or Semillon yet. Cooler weather fog and clouds the last few days. Yesterday evening there was enough wind to snap a few canes. Were kind of waiting on bloom to finish to work with the wires. The acre of SB we removed is now budded over to 115 Pinot Noir.
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777 PN Flower
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115 PN Flower
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Semillon, Flowers not open yet
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Wind damage, snapped cane
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New acre of 115 PN
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Newly grafted 115 buds
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Post #238  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 30th 2017, 4:42pm

We are well on our way to fruit-set. Of note are some stuck caps (formations that do not flower - at the bottom of the cluster). Does not appear wide-spread, but when my neighbor mentioned it, I went looking.

Tomorrow morning we will spray and then later in the week we will sucker and thin.
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Post #239  Postby Stewart Johnson » May 30th 2017, 5:05pm

Merrill and Joe, it sounds like both of you are pretty careful about disturbing the canopy around flowering with any active shoot thinning/suckering. Is that because you're worried about breaking flowers, rubbing off pollen, etc?
I'm inclined the opposite way. I'd like to be done suckering/thinning before bloom but will keep going full speed (such as it is) during bloom. My rationale is that growing shoot tips are carb sinks, and I'd like to have as many as possible of the superfluous tips removed so that the vine can put that energy into pollination. Your thoughts?
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Post #240  Postby Evan Pontoriero » May 30th 2017, 5:13pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
Evan Pontoriero wrote:
Stewart Johnson wrote:I just started bloom at the top of the vineyard. That's about 10 days later than 2014 and 2016 and 18 days later than 2015. Nice to be back to "normal."
One thing that's not normal this year is the bumper crop of morning glory. It's showing up all over the vineyard, in places where it's never been a problem before. Anybody else seeing that?



Saw a little bit but WTH with the poison oak? It is everywhere. Way more than ever. ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!![swearing.gif]
My source (I thought) of poison oak was not poison oak. Perhaps from the fur of one of the cats.

We dug and disked twice already in the vineyard, so it is pretty free of growth. But I checked out what was my tomato and pepper raised box garden, and it is inundated with that morning glory. As I said, the weather conditions this winter have done all kinds of things to what we came to think of as normal (but they were drought years).
I manage this property organically, so spraying the heck out of those weeds is not an option. Got to get someone stronger than I digging.


Sorry to hear, Merrill. I am horribly allergic to it so I can see it pretty well it is when it is tangled in with outer things that makes it difficult. I was trimming back some oaks and creosote bush around the outside of the blocks and managed to get it. There seems to be a lot of it under vines this year as well making suckering dangerous for me and my mgr.
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Post #241  Postby Joe Webb » May 30th 2017, 6:09pm

Stewart Johnson wrote:Merrill and Joe, it sounds like both of you are pretty careful about disturbing the canopy around flowering with any active shoot thinning/suckering. Is that because you're worried about breaking flowers, rubbing off pollen, etc?
I'm inclined the opposite way. I'd like to be done suckering/thinning before bloom but will keep going full speed (such as it is) during bloom. My rationale is that growing shoot tips are carb sinks, and I'd like to have as many as possible of the superfluous tips removed so that the vine can put that energy into pollination. Your thoughts?


We have had so much shatter in the past, as well as frost related low cluster counts, we like to get a feel for crop load post set to determine how much to thin post bloom. We dont like to work or spray during bloom. Our petiole tests have not shown any issues. Were ok with it devigoring the vine early especially this wet winter.
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Post #242  Postby Merrill Lindquist » May 31st 2017, 9:43am

Stewart Johnson wrote:Merrill and Joe, it sounds like both of you are pretty careful about disturbing the canopy around flowering with any active shoot thinning/suckering. Is that because you're worried about breaking flowers, rubbing off pollen, etc?
I'm inclined the opposite way. I'd like to be done suckering/thinning before bloom but will keep going full speed (such as it is) during bloom. My rationale is that growing shoot tips are carb sinks, and I'd like to have as many as possible of the superfluous tips removed so that the vine can put that energy into pollination. Your thoughts?
Good question. I guess if I had the funds and the labor, I might have suckered before bloom. Maybe. I don't always have this much unproductive growth, but those rains really brought it on. And yes, I prefer not to have a crew moving around quickly out there when things are in active flowering. Just does not feel right. Nothing scientific to back it up. I like to shoot thin after bloom. That way it is easy to see what is going to move along, and what is not. Also, keeping any healthy flower formations during any threat of frost seems smart. If we had a major frost loss, I would certainly rather have the option of single bunch shoots as opposed to no bunch shoots!

So, this year for economic/time reasons, we'll do the suckering and thinning all at once. Soon. Looks like a lot of fruit out there.

After thinning, only I will be out there through harvest. I do the dropping of anything I don't want in the bottle, and that is a continuous process when veraison commences. Because my vineyard is in my back yard, I have easy access and can fine tune constantly. I like the finesse work.
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Post #243  Postby Merrill Lindquist » June 3rd 2017, 8:15am

Ah...this is after all The Weather Thread. What great weather! Cool mornings, with sun breaking through and temperatures climbing throughout the day. Yesterday it got quite warm - up to 90 on the deck outside the house, so the vineyard is probably hotter (and certainly feels hotter).

The wind was a bit different yesterday - typically you can count on it blowing in across the vineyards onto my porch, which faces west. Yesterday there was a pretty strong breeze coming from the south (Diamond Mountain direction), and moving later to come from the Southwest.

Temperatures this week look very even and ideal for growing: low of 50 overnight to the mid/high 80s during the day. Perfect Cabernet growing weather.
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Post #244  Postby Merrill Lindquist » June 3rd 2017, 11:32am

I have mentioned now and again the vineyard down my street that was owned by Sterling, who I guess is now Treasury Estates. I always thought it was a larger piece of land - I had estimated 20-30 acres. It was a bit misleading to look at from the street, because where it stops, it runs right to Kenefick. At any rate, they did not prune, and I suspected a pull. Yep. And they have spent a noisy couple of weeks pulling it out, working the land, and carting off huge truckloads of the removed vines. That part is nearly done.

I did have a chance to stop and talk today with some guys working down there, and they confirmed it was only 11 acres. Boy, was I off! They are going to replant, which is great, because we do not need any more buildings. 11 acres of pulled vines can make huge, huge piles. Massive.
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Post #245  Postby Casey Hartlip » June 3rd 2017, 7:29pm

Just about at full bloom now. Hoping this great weather means even bloom/set. We are certainly behind other areas and that just fine. Running from field to field lifting wires. Still haven't crown suckered everything yet. Did our first irrigation on 2016 Gruner vines as well as 2015 Chard. Don't want these young vines to lose any momentum in their root development. Still so much work going on. We will use sulfur dust next week rather than wettable to not disturb the blooming process.
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Post #246  Postby Wes Barton » June 4th 2017, 1:31pm

Predicted rainfall for Thursday.
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Post #247  Postby Andrew Demaree » June 4th 2017, 2:37pm

Posting for Merrill:
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Post #248  Postby Joe Webb » June 4th 2017, 2:43pm

Wes Barton wrote:Predicted rainfall for Thursday.


Of course because I am bottling SaviB that day!

I think our PN will be done flowering and the SB and Semillon have not started bloom yet, hoping to doge the bullet. Forecasts are all over the place on amounts right now so not much confidence yet in quantity, but they have trended up a little the last couple days.
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Post #249  Postby Merrill Lindquist » June 4th 2017, 5:18pm

Thanks, Andy. For those who don't have a sense for what suckering and thinning can look like...it is a big transformation. Plenty of shoots and clusters left on the vines!
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Post #250  Postby Casey Hartlip » June 5th 2017, 7:29pm

Time for some drama I guess. Our local weather watcher is calling for 'up to an inch' of rain toward the end of the week. We are not through bloom like many of our friends to the south. A quarter inch during a light rain wouldn't bug me much but heavier rain over a couple of days could be problematic.

Here's a pic from Today. Martini clone Pinot on 1995 planted vines. This fruit is set at this time. Fingers crossed this weather isn't too bad.
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