I must confess, I miss it already. Even though the season is officially over, I miss the bull work, the repetition, the looking forward to the "possible" harvest which the migrating birds enjoyed this year. There was the official bud break which occurs about April 1st, and then the rapid growth of shoots which inevitably leads to a huge amount of pruning that needs to be done. This year I taught my brother and his wife the solitary nature of pruning.....visualizing the end intent, choosing the shoots to get you there, and trimming off those that have been determined their place is better on the ground than with the vine.
This year was tough, but I look forward to a completed irrigation system next year to help spur new growth. Even though I only plan to replace half of the vines that didn't make it through the serious drought we had, I wish I could replace all of them and then expand even more. The next expansion isn't planned until Spring of 2012 with 3 new varieties. It can't come soon enough, and once again I'll set up the "perfect plan" to make it all run smoothly....though it hasn't yet.
Last week I was walking the vineyard and I could see the absolutely straight rows of poles I put in with the help of my son Chris. It was his first introduction to farming and driving a tractor....well, at this type of farming anyway. I'm sure that at the end of the day he was mentally trying to figure out if there was a better way. Maybe there is....someday we'll find it....but it was a project successfully completed and that he can be happy about.
The Fall is a time to shut the place down and start looking at all the little projects that were put on the back burner during the hectic growing season. I drained the irrigation system, and my other son Rich was with me and was assigned to finish the trellis system (Geneva Double Current) for the Nortons. We know we'll need the full trellis next year....Nortons grow like crazy.
December will be dedicated to more little projects. But there is one BIG one I'll begin. When we started this vineyard Diane and I talked about the winery, but at the time it was years off. The clock has ticked, the vines have grown, and we are now at the time when we must pay attention to the winery. We have sat with a local architect we like in a preliminary discussion and now we have to get serious. In December I will have another meeting with the architect and we will get the project rolling. We plan on putting the shovel in the ground in Spring of 2012, so that gives us just over a year to do all the advance work. There is so much to do, and I suspect that even with all this prethought we will still run out of time towards the end. First crush is planned for Fall of 2012 and we have to have a place to do it all in. Build a winery, put in the fermenting tanks with the destemmer, crusher, pumps, filter system, etc. etc. Then have a tasting room, a minny bakery on the side, along with a gift shop.
It can seem overwhelming at times.
It is a very exciting time.