Vineyard Management Services for Napa Valley and Sonoma County.So I left you off last month complaining about Murphy’s Law and the amount of rain we were getting. Well the law was amended and he did give us a reprieve. We were finally able to catch up and finish our pruning, and knock on wood, we were able to get all our frost controls in order and have only used them a few times.

The month of April is an explosive month. Bud break happens, and the initial rapid growth period starts. Once the shoots emerge they can grow up to an inch a day. Just like the vines everything else is growing and thriving including fungi and insects. So this month is a month for vigilant observation and the start of our spray program to keep the vines free from fungus and insects that are detrimental to grapes.

This is also the month when the shoots reach about 18 inches and our suckering season starts. It’s imperative that all the suckers (or unproductive shoots) be removed so that all the vine’s energy can be directed to the producing shoots. This all happens in a very short time, and all of us vineyard managers are tearing our hair out trying to keep up. But as Murphy would have it, when it rains it pours, either too much work or not enough!

This is also the start of our tractor season to either mow the cover crops or actually cultivate the ground so that there are no competing weeds or grass. Next month we’ll talk a little on the relationship between Vineyard management and the type of wine, or the style of wine that the winemakers are trying to produce.

Paul Saviez

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