Friday, January 08, 2010

The Church

A few years ago the Catholic church around the corner from us got all new landscaping. One of the things installed was a little vineyard of 20 Cabernet plants. Stefania and I drive by a lot on our way to our local coffee shop or the gas station, and the vineyard looked like hell. The plants were not pruned properly, and they never got around to finishing the wiring.

Two years ago I called the priest and volunteered to take care of the little vineyard. At first it was a little hard to get him to understand that we'd just do it for no charge, but we did.

We cleaned up the plants, and tried to get them retrained correctly. Jerry and I also installed the correct trellis supports and installed a 5 wire catch system.

Last year the vineyard got a little fruit and we harvested that and used it for our grape stomp. The rather bizarre rules of the state of California mean we can't spray anything on the vines, so they do get mildew every year and we won't end up using the grapes for anything but stomping.
Stef and I did the pruning this year. We let the vines get pretty wild last year with a lot shoots. When trying to retrain a vineyard this usually works best because you have more options on shoots you want to keep and work with. Here's a vine before we started.

You can see we have the starts of a cordon and spur VSP system going. Each spur threw two shoots, we just had some extra shoots to remove.

On some plants we are still pulling down new canes, and here's one we have started now.

The finished spurs from the plant above. These vines should fill in nicely this year and it is one of the better looking parts of the landscaping now.

On some plants we left three spurs, on others four. It just depended on the spacing. One thing we have to be careful about is leaving two spurs from different plants too close on the ends of the plants. Then you end up with four tightly spaced shoots and that increases the risk of mildew.

Here is a new spur, and our trusty FJ Cruiser.


Dave said...

The rather bizarre rules of the state of California mean we can't spray anything on the vines
Why is that? Because they are beside a public road?

Paul Romero said...

The alternative would be to get a pesticide business license on top of my QAC and QAL, but the insurance coverage required is over $2500 a year. Even if I don't charge the church, I'd need to register with the state as a pesticide business. Total cost would run abour $4000 a year.

Dave said...

Would you need a pesticide licence for things like oil or just for sulphur?

And does that mean you can no longer spray your other vineyards too?

Paul Romero said...

You need it for any spray, organic or not. I have site permits for the other sites. We lease the bigger vineyards so those count as mine and my QAL works. The home vineyard is registered with the county also. They gave me a bad time about it last year, but I think gave in and admit it's a little silly and tried to get me in a program so they wouldn't have to come inspect my backyard twice a year.