Daily Archive for July 25th, 2009

Weed Abatement Lafond Vineyards

Weeds miraculously grow even when there is no rain. You can disc the rows but in between the vines it is more difficult. There are three ways to control the weeds. You can hoe by hand, which is incredibly expensive, and we sometimes have to resort to this if the weeds are large and out of control. The second is herbicide, similar to what many people use on their lawns, but you can only do it when plants are dormant, and it is not in keeping with our goal of sustainable farming.

The third is mechanical. The photo shows a new machine, we are testing, which consists of blades on both sides which shear the weeds just below ground and retract when passing a vine. Many of the machines we have tried and used in the past took out the weeds but they also took out the vine. This machine looks very promising and we plan on using it next spring.

The driver is working a Chardonnay block we planted last year. Weeds are always more difficult the first two years because of the need to water more frequently, as the plant matures and develops its root system there is much less need to irrigate.

Véraison at Lafond Vineyards

 Véraison is defined by Wikipedia as

Véraison is a French term, but has been adopted into the English literature on viticulture. The official definition of véraison is “change of color of the grape berries.” Véraison represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening, and many changes in berry development occur at véraison.

The image of our Pinot Noir was taken July 24, 2009. According to Winemaker, Bruce McGuire, when 50% of the grapes have changed color the harvest is six weeks away. This is a selected vine and one of the most advanced, the rest of the vineyard has some catching up to do.

We will probably reach the 50% threshold by August 1 and by that time we will need to cover the vines with netting to protect them from our local bird population who seem to prefer Pinot Noir above all other varieties.