Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Vines

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that every year there's a number of old grape vines that die out in the vineyard. The growers pull out the dead stumps and pile them up at the end of the rows. Callie brings them home one at a time.

New, young vines appear in the vineyard every spring.

Well, I hear you wondering, what happens to the space where the dead vine was? I have the answer for you. At least a partial answer. The grower will often replace dead vines with young ones! In this particular vineyard, the grower uses old water bottles to help protect the young transplant and to keep it upright. After a year or so, he'll remove the stake and bottle and the vine will be producing grapes right along with the others.

Sometimes growers will rip out a whole vineyard and let it lie fallow for a year or so, then come back in and re-plant with all new vines. That's happened a few times out behind our house and there are vines out there that we've seen go in which are now producing. There are also some vines out there that are over one-hundred years old.

The vineyards out behind us are a patchwork of varietals and are owned and tended by at least five different growers that we know of, perhaps more. Some of the patches are quite large, but some are as small as eight rows. We've been walking out there daily for just about six years now, and I'm only beginning to understand which vines belong to whom and what varietals are where.


  1. that's such a great tip about the water bottle...i bet that could work for a lot of plants! i wish i'd have thought of that last year when i planted my goji berry. it might still be alive. :(

    it would be interesting to live near a vineyard and watch the changes that are made. it has to be more interesting than watching corn and soybeans and subdivisionites, which is what we are surrounded by.

  2. Have you guys watch
    Mondovino? It was all about wine making around the world.

  3. As a gardener, I think it must be marvelous to grow vines. It must be the old Adam in me to grow grapes and make wine - Earth's blood.

  4. tansy, we do have our share of corn, which is a crop they really shouldn't grow here, but also colza (brilliant yellow fields in the spring) and sunflowers, both crops for vegetable oil.

    nadege, Ken just watched it last week. I think I napped through it, but I know I've seen it before.

    urspo, we have some table grapes in the yard, but they don't produce much. They're old and I don't treat them or anything. But I do prune them every year!

  5. I think the old water bottle has a more sinister use. It indicates that the area will be sprayed with herbicide, the bottle protects the young vine which is more prone to damage. Looking at the surrounding earth it does appear that herbicide has been used. In organic vineyards they don't generally use the bottle.


Tell me what you think!