We went last night to check on Vista Verde and make a call on bird netting. The vineyard has had two breeches in the fence this year and was attacked both times by deer. The damage was pretty bad, and we wanted to see if there is enough fruit to make netting worthwhile.
This is a steep difficult vineyard. Stefania is at the very top and the vines go to the tree line below. On Google Earth it shows as a total of a 248 foot drop from top to bottom of the site. Across the hill is Varner and Thomas Fogarty wineries.
About 1/2 the plants are damaged. Most look like they will recover OK, but they won't have good fruit this year. It's too bad because the fruit that was left was wonderful. Here are a few clusters at the top section of the vineyard where the deer didn't attack.
We decided not to net. There just looks like 800 pounds or so of fruit, and it would take 4-6 man days to net the vineyard, or about $500. That's not worth the expense for so little fruit. We will risk going without nets. The vineyard is fairly large, and the birds have not started on it yet, so there's a chance we will pull some fruit. I sent Jerry out today to remove any green clusters.
Part of the issue with the deer is that the damaged plants lack the leafs to ripen fruit as fast as the undamaged plants. Some of the damaged plants also threw a second crop after the fence was fixed. None of those grapes will be ripe in time for harvest. InOctober though they will look ripe to the harvest crew, they just won't taste ripe. We will remove them now while they are green to avoid any risk of them getting picked in October by accident.