Funky D Vines
We planted a small vineyard in 2016 and one thing has led to another ever since. The early years are described by scrolling through the presentation below.
Since this introduction we have actually accomplished every one of the next steps listed on the last slide! Dale has learned a lot over the last 5 years and our vineyard practices have evolved accordingly. The first hurdle was simply controlling the weeds in the rows and between vines. I started by weed whacking, but this is too labor intensive for a lazy farmer like me. I switched to Roundup which worked wonderfully but needed a lot of care to not damage the vines. We then experienced some of the hottest summers on record and it slowed the vines establishment and yield. I had decided early on not to irrigate, thinking "they've been doing this for thousands of years without pipes!". But something needed to be done. After doing a fair amount of reading on permaculture techniques, I began to pay attention more closely to how the wind and water behaved on our property. This prompted me to plant a number of trees as wind/snow breaks. Lastly, we are now mulching the rows heavily to retain moisture and control weeds. This last, 'Captain Obvious' step was suggested by our son-in-law, Brooke, who is a landscape professional in the Seattle area. He suggested we use Chipdrop.com and a month later we had all the arborist chips we could handle. We're looking forward to seeing how this affects our yield.
Here's a brief summary so far:
2016 - Planted 24 Marquette vines
2017 - planted 175 Marquette vines
2019 - planted 20 Pinot Gris vines from cuttings - harvested 15 lbs of Marquette. Foot stomped with concord, but failed due to oversulfiting
2020 - harvested around 50lbs of Marquette, 3 gal of wine - undrinkable due to horrible volatile acids!
2021 - harvested 100lbs of Marquette which produced 1.5 cases of very good wine! Our First vintage, "Funque du Ranche"
2022 - harvested 300lbs of Marquette as well as a small batch of Zweigelt from Steve Schaub which he allowed me to harvest in exchange for tending those vines for him. Under his tutelage, we conducted a blending bench trial and settled on 90% Marquette, and 10% Zweigelt for this years release: "The Hipster" (In honor of Dale's, double hip arthroplasty) 6 cases produced.
2023 - harvested 400lbs of Marquette and lost the Zweigelt harvest completely to birds!! Currently have 23 gal on Oak, and hope
to bottle 9 cases this Spring.