The ice is not harmful to the plants; it is actually quite beneficial. A “hard freeze” not only resets the plant’s growing clock but decreases the number of vineyard pests — spores, bacteria and burrowing critters, to name a few.
The soils are saturated from the winter rains as the earth warms and sunlight increases. All of this stimulates the plant to once again “get growing.” The winter cover crop, used to prevent soil erosion, is now tilled in to add biomass and nutrients.
Busy, busy, busy — both the plants and the farmer. The plant is setting fruit and creating long canes with leaves to later provide the necessary source for fruit ripening. The farmer manages plant growth to ensure balance between canopy and crop to ensure optimal fruit flavors. This is all accomplished by hand — adding up to about 250 man-hours per acre. Photo: Janis Miglavs
Time to harvest and then rest. After harvest, plants begin their final “shut down,” taking in carbohydrates from the canes and storing them in their root systems to be used for the initial spring growth of the next vintage year. Photo: Rick Lundh