Last Friday we finished up netting at the Woodruff Family Vineyard. That's our biggest netting project with 8+ acres to cover. This week we moved on to the Arastradero Vineyard. That vineyard needed some thinning and a little spray. The winemaker getting fruit for it also wanted us to drop every shoot to just one cluster.
It took a day and a half to do the prep work and then two and a half days to do the nets. The vineyard is very steep, so even though it's only about 3/4 of an acre, it takes a long time to work the site compared to the flatter sites.
Monday we'll net at Chaine d'Or. That should only take one day since just the outside of the vineyard gets netted. One thing we've learned about netting is, once you do it, you don't need to do it. After a couple of seasons of netting, the birds seem to lose interest in the site and don't hang around anymore, or they take the route of their migration, since the food is gone. So despite netting only about 10% of Chaine d' Or we loose almost no fruit to the birds.
Later this coming week, we'll prep the Crimson Clover vineyard. Some fruit needs to get dropped. Here we'll take anything that is behind in turning colors and any fruit on plants that look overloaded. I don't personally like going to a one cluster per shoot approach. I know it's much easier to instruct a crew to do that, but I find that if you remove too much fruit from a strong plant, you send the plant back into a growth cycle. Then the plant is putting its energy into growing, instead of getting its fruit ripe. That can also lead to late mildew problems since the new growth is not sprayed.
It's more time consuming, and requires a more skilled crew, but I prefer to remove fruit on a plant by plant assessment. Stefania will be out with Jerry and the crew on Tuesday to teach them exactly how to do this. When they are done, we'll hedge any tall plants, spray any hot spots for mildew, and then net the vineyard. That will be our last one for summer to net.