The Vineyard Through the Seasons

Pruning continues. On very cold days frost covers the ground but dormant vines survive temperatures below 0oF. Creeks overflow and flood low areas of vineyard during rain storms. Finish pruning and chop up prunings into mulch left on ground. Nursery grafts cuttings onto rootstock for future plantings. Soil washed downslope by rains is recovered and returned to vineyard. Disk soil (shallow cultivation) to aerate soil and uncover bases of vines. Sap starts to rise as vines emerge from dormancy and brown sheaths fall off new buds. Wild mustard and green grass start to carpet vineyard.
Continue disking and replace rotten stakes as wet season ends and vineyard drys out.
Plant new vines (one-year old) from nursery; and hope for late budding of leaves on older vines, as frosts and hail are still possible.
Spray powdered sulphur on vines to prevent powdery mildew (oidium). Remove suckers from vines every few days to encourage the sap to rise. Vines flower when temperatures warm to 65-68oF (18-20oC). Warm and days and no wind mean early flowers. Thin new shoots after flowering and tie best ones to wires supporting the vines. Continue spraying with sulphur after heavy rains.

Spray Bordeaux mixture of copper sulphate, lime and water against downy mildew. Disk soil (second cultivation of season) for weed control. Trim long shoots so that vines spend their energy making fruit. Grapes get color and begin to attract birds, rabbits and deer. Keep vineyard weeded and prepare equipment for coming harvest. Harvest begins when grapes ripen, as early as mid-August or as late as October. Merlot ripens first, followed by French Colombard, then Cabernet, and Gamay last. Rains before or during harvest can be devastating by mildewing grapes and muddying vineyard.
Harvest ends. Although grapes are delivered to winery as soon as they are picked, growers are not paid until the following season. Disk soil for last time of season to prepare for new plantings, and to move soil over bases of older vines to protect them from frost. Prepare vineyard for winter as grape leaves turn color and rains herald the coming wet season. Pruning begins when leaves fall off vines and cooler temperatures nudge vines into winter dormancy.
Spraying with pre-emergent herbicide for weed control.