This year, we have two major projects in the vineyard: 1) removing the Pierce's diseased vines and 2) cleaning the carpet.
The Vidal blanc was great while it lasted. It made a delicious, high acid wine that received great compliments. Nevertheless, we know that it has Pierce's disease and that it won't last much past next year. A good portion of the vineyard has already died. We've decided to remove it now so that we can move on to our next variety more quickly. We're trying Villard blanc, a grape that was widely grown in France into the 60s. It's fairly rare here, but its resistant. I'm looking to taste as many different companies' Villard as possible so that I can get a good plan for how to make the wine.
|decapitated vines, awaiting removal|
So the first step is to cut down the top parts of the Vidal. After that is finished, we will pull back the landscape fabric that we use to keep the weeds down, attach the vines to our ATV, and pull them out. We will then go back, add some P and K, and put in the new Villard vines. And start over. It's going to be tedious, but we have almost one month to get them out.
|Before (notice you can't see the black plastic)|
|After (gorgeous work Liuba!)|
So by the time we get the vineyard cleaned and cleared, it will be time to put the new vines in and get started on the Spring crops. It will be slow and steady work, but I'm glad I can provide work for my employees in the winter that will cut down on the work we have to do in the oppressive heat of summer.
I'll be making a trip to the Dallas, Houston, and Austin areas in late February. They grow two different types of Pierce's disease resistant vines down there: Lenoir and Blanc du Bois. I'll do an update from down there as I journey to find the best varieties of grapes to grow (sustainably) in NC!!