Thankfully, the albarino grapevines that were planted in the spring are growing very well. That means that it is time for trellising grapevines! Our trellising system for these vines consists of a cordon wire strung at 3 1/2 ft from the ground. As the vines grow, we will add VSP wires using 7 ft high posts. VSP posts (vertical shoot position) hold extra wires which support the canopy and keep it from sprawling to the ground. For these varieties we will have a post every two vines. Every third post will be a VSP post.
For trellising grapevines the past few years, we have used fiberglass posts cut from oil field sucker rods. These are used to attach the above ground rocking horse with the pumping mechanism down in the ground. These fiberglass sucker rods are 37 ft long which means, for our use, they must be cut into 5 1/2 ft and 9 ft pieces. The extra length is so we can sink them 2 ft into the ground. Here is the view from our front porch during this process. There are two piles each with the different sizes that have been cut. The trailer has 5 1/2 ft rods loaded on it that will be carried to the vineyard. Using a trailer is much easier than carrying each one by hand! John used the chop saw to cut the fiberglass rods. He measured out a frame on which the sucker rod was placed. The end butted against the wood and cinder block frame showing him where to cut. This saved him measuring each individual rod. Once the rod is cut, John lets go and it rolls down two sucker rods and into the pile of cut ones. He lines up the next rod and starts cutting. He is wearing a dust mask for protection against all the fiberglass and resin dust while cutting.
In the vineyard, trellising grapevines involves more walking and tractor power. We borrowed another grape grower's post driver. It is the horizontal iron I-beam on the tractor forks pictured below. The feet on either end are set to the desired depth at which the posts are pushed into the ground. With this post driver, we are able to do two rows at a time and it is in some ways easier than our old way of t-posting. The tractor drives to the spot where the posts are to be placed. There is one person on either side positioning the posts to make sure they are properly in line. The post driver is lowered down to touch the rods. The hydrolic forks and I-beam are then lowered, pushing the rods into the ground. You can see if you compare the photo above to the one below, the rod is pushed into the ground quite a bit. Now that all the rows have their trellising posts in place, it looks like this: You can also see that most of the vines have grown out of the cartons and are begging for a wire to grow on. The next step of our work is to string the wire for them to grab hold of!