Spring has most definitely sprung here in Southern Oregon. We noticed bud break around 4.17.18, which is quite average, but later than the last few years. The recent cool, wet weather has meant relatively slow shoot growth, and, two weeks later, most of the shoots are less than 4” long.
The big story for us in the vineyard this year is our transition to Organic Viticulture. Over the years, we have been steadily acquiring the equipment and the knowledge to successfully farm Organically. The major burden for us, weed control, has been solved (mostly) by a 20 year old “Kimco” cultivator that I purchased from a longtime friend, Gary Connor, and modified to fit our crawler tractor. I also picked up a used mower that will cut the grass underneath the vines as it grows up during the summer. With these two pieces of equipment, plus a used cover crop seeder and an under-vine compost spreader that I bought several years ago, we finally have what we need to successfully farm using an Organic system. The other serendipitous event that made it the right time to convert to Organic farming was that LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), the certifying body that has always monitored our Sustainability certification, announced this year that they were offering an Organic certification as well. This meant that we could continue to work with LIVE, an Oregon based, grower advised entity for which I have a lot of respect, while we transitioned to certified Organic.
I’m excited for this next phase in the vineyard and the challenge that it poses. It will take time to evaluate what changes we will see, if any, in the wine. However, just by making the decision to farm Organically, we have made a change in our own organization. As we continue down this path, I’ll make sure to update everyone on the things we learn and the changes we see along the way. I’m looking forward to this Summer’s Bar-be-“Q” so everyone can have a tour and see it for themselves.
President for Life