We have a new face on the blog! Lynn Pedone will be working in the vineyard, with Dave Vella and his crew, as she pursues her studies in Viticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College. A little background on Lynn: she’s a recent East Coast transplant, has lived all over the world growing up in a military family and has previously worked in the world of business and finance. She’s now hoping to settle into her “last career stop until retirement” in the wine industry and is looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about vineyard maintenance with Dave. Lynn will be writing a weekly blog post about her experiences working in the Chateau Montelena vineyards. Read her latest post below:
Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. At Chateau Montelena, the vineyard has really been flourishing – the warm, sunny weather has given the vines everything they need to grow, and grow rapidly! It is very exciting to see the berry clusters taking shape and increasing in size; “peppercorn” diameter now (about 4 mm), they are actually beginning to look like bunches of grapes. “Berry set” occurred in June and this month wineries can begin cluster counts to determine their crop projection for the year. Because everything is growing like crazy at this time, it’s also necessary to keep up a busy pace of tucking vines up into the catch wires as well as continue with suckering – removing unwanted shoots we don’t want and the vines don’t need. Extra shoots “rob” the vines of the vigor and productivity that has to go into growing, ripening and maturing the fruit, so this is a very important task. We have also started some shoot “thinning” to eliminate crowding and allow the leaves – i.e. the little solar panels of the vines – full sun exposure and again, to give the vines the opportunity to focus their energy into fruit production instead of green (vegetative) growth. We did have a day of real rain last week; happy for the cooler temperatures, we started work as usual at 6 a.m. under a light drizzle but within an hour the skies opened up to a full blown deluge. I had my rain gear on and wanted to continue but Placido, the crew supervisor, wisely summoned us out of the vineyard and told us to go home – no sense jeopardizing anyone’s health or safety. The sun and high temperatures have returned, and we are back at it – yesterday was spent doing more vine tucking and suckering. These things grow like weeds!