Winter is such a nice time of year for us - we get a break from vineyard work - it is like summer vacation for us only it is in the winter! But it is quickly coming to an end since we are preparing for planting grapevines.
In fact, we are already preparing for planting grapevines this spring! Even though we are not planting until April there is a lot to do to get ready and it is nice to have it done before pruning begins.
We have started laying the underground drip irrigation tape for the next 5 acres to be planted - 3 acres of Montepulciano and 2 acres of Aglianico. Both of the these are Italian red varieties and do very well in our climate.
Before I go any farther, let me just say - This is one of those times that I use "we" loosely! The younger five children and I have been concentrating on home education while John and the two older children work in the vineyard.
The first step was marking the new rows. Using my new tractor, they attached a taping rig with a shank that rips the dirt (cuts down into the dirt, breaking and loosening the soil). You can see it being pulled in the photo at the beginning. All 18 rows were ripped at one time.
The next step is to lay the drip tape in the trench of softened dirt.
You can see below the spool of black drip tape on the back of the rig. The tape spins off the spool and feeds into a tube that places at the precise place it is wanted.
When the spool runs out of tape in the middle of the row, a new spool replaces the old one and the new tape is spliced onto the old. John cuts the end of the tape and threads it up into the new piece. He then wraps a wire tie around the joint twice and has a neat tool twists the ends together securing the joint.
It is amazing it withstands the water pressure but it does a great job!
After all the underground drip irrigation tape was laid, John rented a ditch digger and began ditching for the water pipe.
Three trenches were dug, one at each end and another in the middle. Pipe will be laid in these and connected to the existing water lines that feed the vineyard. The underground drip irrigation tapes will feed into these pipes.
It is exciting to see the progression of the vineyard - we are four acres away from the vines coming up to the house! I can't wait to sit out on the front porch drinking a cup of coffee and looking out over the vineyard!