May 2, 2013– Last year at this time, we were scouring the vineyard for signs of frost damage thanks to an unbelievably early start to the growing season. Buds had “broken” in late March, only to endure several weeks of freezing cold weather in late April. (See “Pins and Needles”)
This year has been much more normal. The vineyard is in the midst of bud break right now, with vines coming out of their winter hibernation just as we are finishing the process of tying them down to the trellis. During March and early April, the weather stayed cold and the vines stayed dormant while we pruned them and made repairs to the trellis. Although many people complained about the cool spring weather, we breathed a sigh of relief!
Most of the vineyard work this winter and spring has been done by our new assistant vineyard manager, Duane Riegel. Duane recently retired from Cornell’s Geneva Experiment Station, where he was in charge of several research vineyards. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Silver Thread, and looks forward to learning more about winemaking while helping Paul in the cellar this harvest.
Assistant Vineyard Manage Duane Riegel pruning during March 2013
Duane has observed that the vines at Silver Thread are in surprisingly good condition for being 30 years old, and are devoid of the chronic diseases that tend to plague conventionally managed vineyards. He hypothesizes that the vines are so healthy due to the sustainable practices used at Silver Thread over the years. Duane looks forward to helping us develop a rigorous vineyard sustainability program to continue the great health of our vines.