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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 5th, 2018, 6:38 pm
by Karen Troisi
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Karen Troisi wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 4:33 pm
Today we blended our auction lot for Premiere Napa Valley and tasted through our 2017 cabs. Loving what we have in barrel - every vintage has its own unique personality but our 17’s are similar to 14’s at this point. Anyone else tasting through now?
Yes, Karen, I tasted a composite of all my 2017 barrels with 6 customers who know my wine well. Thaey asked if they could buy...it is very good. I told them it would be another 6 months before I have an offer out there.
Interesting... we like a solid 21-22 months in 75-100% new French Oak before bottling. We also hold back to bottle age before releasing (always something we have done). We won’t bottle 2017 cabs until next August and our 16’s won’t be released until next year.

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 5th, 2018, 7:31 pm
by Merrill Lindquist
Karen - my offers go out essentially as futures, in the March - May timeframe. Bottling is in June, with shipping in the October/November timeframe. So my 2017 Cabs will be bottled in June of 2019.

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 10th, 2018, 7:52 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Adapt or perish.
Here we are in the new era of farming. After harvest, pruning is the most time consuming and expensive task. Historically we've used the women's crew for every task except pruning. The ladies all carry pruning shears but usually need them for cutting live shoots while disbudding and training. Standing there all day and cutting dormant wood is another story. Hell, MY right hand gets sore at the start of pruning season. So how can we get the ladies involved? Prepruning. Here's where it gets geeky. Many larger vineyards do mechanical prepruning. Using a machine to cut the brush back to about 12-16 inches. This makes the final pass easier as there's less stuff to remove. This works for cordon pruning.
Cane pruning is different. You really can't mechanically preprune effectively because you can't cut all the shoots back to 16" as replacement canes need to be longer than 30". However the ladies can remove last year's cane and get it out of the trellis, leaving just the main head with various choices of canes to leave. Do you follow me? I'd say that 60% of cane pruning is taking the time to remove last year's growth. After that comes the creative process of selecting the proper canes and removing the excess shoots.
So I've turned this into an essay. Regardless I'm going to try something I've never tried in 40 years of farming. Hope it works.

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 11th, 2018, 8:18 am
by N Weis
I follow you, Casey, and bet it will work well.

Choosing next year's cane is the most mentally-taxing, but removing last year's cane(s) and all the brush is the most time-consuming. Leaving a number of good choices for canes and spur positions if needed/desired should let the surgeons do their work more easily when they come through for the final pass. And maybe even wrap and tie, which we typically leave for another pass.

In examining pre-pruning on spur-pruned vineyards, I've found it doesn't reduce the total amount of time needed for pruning. It's about the same or even more. But, it lets the fine pruners focus on making the critical cuts, so quality is better, and it has other benefits including trunk disease, frost protection, and even the benefit of keeping the crew busy and employed when they need to be.

We, too, are experimenting with doing some similar "pre-pruning" on cane-pruned vineyards. And we have taken more and more that way.

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 11th, 2018, 10:30 am
by Merrill Lindquist
Do either of you find that cane pruning leaves the fruit more exposed (less canopy) and more susceptible to sun burn?

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 12th, 2018, 8:30 pm
by Stewart Johnson
Casey Hartlip wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 7:52 pm
Adapt or perish.
Here we are in the new era of farming. After harvest, pruning is the most time consuming and expensive task. Historically we've used the women's crew for every task except pruning. The ladies all carry pruning shears but usually need them for cutting live shoots while disbudding and training. Standing there all day and cutting dormant wood is another story. Hell, MY right hand gets sore at the start of pruning season. So how can we get the ladies involved? Prepruning. Here's where it gets geeky. Many larger vineyards do mechanical prepruning. Using a machine to cut the brush back to about 12-16 inches. This makes the final pass easier as there's less stuff to remove. This works for cordon pruning.
Cane pruning is different. You really can't mechanically preprune effectively because you can't cut all the shoots back to 16" as replacement canes need to be longer than 30". However the ladies can remove last year's cane and get it out of the trellis, leaving just the main head with various choices of canes to leave. Do you follow me? I'd say that 60% of cane pruning is taking the time to remove last year's growth. After that comes the creative process of selecting the proper canes and removing the excess shoots.
So I've turned this into an essay. Regardless I'm going to try something I've never tried in 40 years of farming. Hope it works.
I would think that electric shears might level the playing field between the sexes. It's no small investment, at about $2000/rig, but I do think it starts making more sense to optimize labor efficiency as cost and scarcity gets more acute. I've got one older Infaco set that doesn't include the safety glove feature, and I'm reluctant to let anyone else use it. I'm currently dithering about shelling out for the newer, safer model.

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: December 12th, 2018, 9:09 pm
by Stewart Johnson
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
December 11th, 2018, 10:30 am
Do either of you find that cane pruning leaves the fruit more exposed (less canopy) and more susceptible to sun burn?
I switched most of my vineyard to cane pruning last year, and I didn't see that the fruit was more exposed than on a cordon VSP. It wasn't to toughest year to avoid sunburn, so maybe the jury is still out.
I made the switch mostly for the sake of improved yield, and I certainly got that. But everyone was heavy in 2018, so the jury is probably still out there also.
I had also hoped that it might save some labor in suckering/shoot thinning. That's where I typically fall behind due to labor limitations. I have spoken with vineyard guys who feel their cane pruned sections only need a little thinning around the head -- less, in any case, than with cordon. That wasn't really my experience this year. Maybe a little longer canes this coming year.
In most cases, the canes available from the old cordon configuration were too high to get directly down onto the cordon wire, and I adopted the bow-the-cane-over-the-lowest-catch-wire-and-then-down-to-the-cordon-wire approach. I think that worked, as advertised, in evening out the fruit distribution in the middle of the cane, and I'll continue that practice even as I get the head moved down below the cordon wire. My real mistake here was that I took two canes out bilaterally and at a length that had the ends of canes from adjacent vines touching down on the cordon too near each other. In some cases, a single tie attached both canes at a single point, resulting in fruit crowding. This year, I'll go with longer canes that will overlap such that the end of each cane ties to the cordon underneath the point where the adjacent plant's cane is bowing over the catch wire above.