After the harvest of 2008, many of you noticed the corner part of the vineyard near the Tasting Room was removed and instead of grapevines you only saw brown dirt. We are starting a process of replanting four acres of our vineyards. These vines (which are Vineyard Blocks 3 and 4) were almost 30 years old and about 90% of them were infected with some disease which left them unable to produce grapes that we could use in our wine. While most Napa Valley Cabernet vineyards produce about 3-4 tons per acre, we were lucky to harvest one ton per acre off this block of the vineyard.
We used large tractors (a D12) and many man hours to remove the vines and rip the soil down about 5 feet to really break up the many years of compaction that occurs from continual farming. Once the ground was cleared, we planted a cover crop of beans and grasses to help build the bio-mass in the structure of the soil. The cover crop grew all winter and early spring until we mowed it to get ready for the new vineyard installation. By late May, we had planted 8000 new Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The vines that we planted were Clone 7 and Clone 31. We decided to plant Dormant Bench grafts which means that these vines have already been growing for two years in a nursery environment before we planted them in our vineyard. As we cultivate these new vineyard blocks, putting our farming practices and emphasis on growth and development of the vines, we hope to see small clusters of Cabernet grapes in the Fall of 2010.
RIPPING OUT THE OLD BLOCK 3 AND 4
LIBBY (THE DOG) CHECKING OUT THE D12 AS IT IS RIPPING THE VINEYARD
PERFECTLY CLEARED VINEYARD (WITH BURN PILES)
THE COVER CROP IS ALMOST AS TALL AS DEBI
MIKE CHECKING OUT THE BURN PILES
MOWING THE COVER CROP IN LATE SPRING
INSTALLING THE END POSTS AND VINEYARD
SETTING UP THE IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE
WE ARE READY TO PLANT!!