I know it’s been a few weeks but I’ve just gotten back from a trip to Ontario with the family to go to my convocation! I officially can say that I have a Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture from Brock University! I just had to include a photo from the CCOVI (Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture) Research Center where I did my thesis. And while we were away we did in fact get to “research” some of the Niagara wineries, which was interesting to show a different part of Canadian wine.
In the vineyards we’ve gone from pre-bloom to fruit set in our experimental vineyard and bloom in the others. It is really interesting to see how spread out the vineyards get from each other depending on weather, grape varietal, and soil. Of our three vineyards our estate vineyard is by easily the most advanced in the growing season. The picture here is our Cab-Foch hybrid with tiny grape berries that will start swelling from now until mid-summer. This is the stage of fruit set in which we can see which flowers have successfully set the fruit which will be our harvest for the year.
Then about a week behind that vineyard is our Mountain Road road vineyard which is roughly a ten minute drive from the winery. When we came back from Ontario we went and checked all the vineyards and that one was in full bloom and it smelled so amazing. This picture to the left is a cluster right in the middle of cap-fall. On my fingers are the caps that the florescence give way to expose the flowers in the cluster. Those caps litter the ground below and then the vineyard blooms.
My last photo is an example of hopefully the difference between pruning and what a difference it can make. For the last few years in our estate vineyard we have been doing a method called “spur-pruning” where you leave the cane from last year on the fruiting wire and cut back each shoot to two buds. This method is fast, easy and doesn’t have a chance of ripping off the buds when the wood is getting pulled. Think of it like giving the vine a hair cut. But lately we’ve been finding the grape clusters from the years getting smaller and less fruit.
So this year in hopes to get bigger clusters and more grapes we switched over pruning methods to “cane-pruning”. This is the method where you find two long, healthy looking shoots near the crown of the plant and cut everything else off and lay down those canes for the next year. This changes the cane every year, but you can have more shoot breakage as you lay them down and knock off buds as you tie it down. There’s a lot more effort; but looking at the clusters so far it looks like cane pruning was a success in getting the vineyard up in production. Just look at the cluster, it’s as big as my whole hand! Now we just hope that the grapes swell up nicely in the next months and the crop this year will hopefully our biggest yet!
So there was the vineyard 411 for this week. Next week another update and the decisions we make.
BSc. Oenology and Viticulture ‘19