Vineyards - The Backbone of Wine - Part I: The Trellis
Welcome to Friday. I mean WELCOME TO FRIDAY!
As you sit at your desk thinking about five o'clock somewhere there is a chance that you may be pre-selecting a beverage of choice. You may be focused strictly on hydration and in that case let me suggest Wingman Water. It's filled with electrolytes and tastes way better than any sparkling water out there (Found at Kako's Market, Busch's, Plum Market and recently expanded to Chicago!!) There is a STRONG possibility you are thinking about that wine chilling in your fridge (especially if Debby Downer in the cube next door won't send you the email you need to finish your work for the week). Once you pour that glass, you think of one thing: relaxation....I'm about to go next level on you. I know you are aware that wine isn't just magically created. Although it seems like one would plant a vineyard and in a snap of the fingers: WINE!! I am here to show you the infrastructure that the vineyard must have in place to create that wine.
I have about 7,000 plants in the vineyard. In the first year they grew about 2.5 feet tall and were self supporting. In order for these plants to reach their optimal quality level, you need to install a trellising system. A trellising system is important to support the plants as they grow upward. Not all regions use a traditional trellis as the wind works against this kind of infrastructure. On Old Mission Peninsula, we do. I have 48 rows of vines, each with 2 wood end posts and approximately 25 stainless steel line posts. That equates to 96 wood end posts and almost 1400 line posts. Imagine one end of the vineyard row has an end post and the line posts are pounded in a straight line all the way down to the other end post in a row, equally spaced. In addition to those I have about 150 staves per row, one per plant. Staves are a 3 foot stick-like post which the plant is tied to at the end of year one to begin the vine training. I have almost 32 miles, yes I said MILES, of catch wires hanging on the line posts. In the picture above, I should point out that I have 3 sets of catch wires and one cordon wire (to which the vine is trained). All the catch wires stretch from one end post to the other and are slipped into a notch on each of the line posts for the length of the row. Catch wires can be un-hooked so that the growing canopy can be tucked in keeping the vines growing upward instead of across the rows (in which case they would shake hands with the next row of vines making it impossible for a tractor to access the row).
This is just ONE aspect of what goes into the infrastructure of a vineyard. All of this plus WAY more is what drives the cost of that bottle of wine in your fridge. More to come in my next installment...
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