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April 12, 2013 | Vineyard | OS VINE

What You Don't Want to See in a Budding Vineyard!

You would never know the vineyard was ready to burst forth with spring! Here is what you don't want to see in a budding vineyard.

snow May 10

Extreme Weather

I have been in the tropics and then to Alaska - all in one week!

Yes, it is tiring being a world traveler, but somebody's gotta do it - right?

OK, I really didn't go to the tropics - or Alaska.

But, I felt like I had been!

We had both extremes right here in west Texas at our vineyard!

The first few days of the week were gorgeous. Temperatures were in the high 80's! We were all in shorts and tank tops. The vineyard was budding out more each day.

Warm Weather

Last week I shared that we were almost finished pruning and that the young Montepulciano vines were budding. We finally finished pruning all the vines on Monday! What a feeling of relief to know that it was done!

Normally, the Montepulciano vines are our last variety to break bud and as of last week, it was just the younger vines that were budding. But, over the weekend and the first couple of days of this week, the more mature vines began budding - not only in the Montepulciano but also in the Aglianico and Roussanne. You could almost see the buds swelling. The next day, voila, they had broken open and the plant was out!

buds Montepulciano

But ...

Wednesday morning was a different story!

Freezing Weather

John and I got up - out of bed that is - to milk. We milk morning and evening on Wednesday and Sunday, to do our share   ;)

I walked out the door and exclaimed, "It's snowing!"

And low and behold, it was.

It took a minute for the reality and seriousness of the snow to hit me - I was enthralled with the beauty of it. But, it also meant that all the buds in the vineyard that were already out were dead.

Yep. No fruit from the primary buds. None.

The temperature had gotten down to 24F - GULP!

As we realized how low the temperature had dropped, the threat of trunk damage became a reality. Because the sap has been flowing so freely, the concern is that the trunks froze, killing the wood, and as they dry out, the trunks actually split. If that happened and the grafts were alive, it would mean 3 years of retraining the entire vineyard. If the grafts also froze, it would mean replanting the whole vineyard!

Needless to say, I had trouble eating breakfast Wednesday morning!

Who knew that farming life could be so suspenseful?

Well, the temperature warmed up enough to work by afternoon and the vineyard looked better than expected.

We Still Have Live Buds!

Yes, all the buds that were out were toast. But, many were still tight and not budded out - there will be fruit - Lord willing!

Trunk damage seems unlikely now. Three days have passed and no signs of trunk damage - Praise the Lord!

Whew! The farming lifestyle sure makes you realize your total dependence upon God!


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