Raven's Call

Raven's Call
Haida Raven

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Starting my new vineyard

After my son gave me a wine-making kit for the holidays, and after encouragement from a friend and colleague at work, I decided to try growing my own wine grapes. After studying materials on the internet, and in particular the materials from WSU experiment station at Mt. Vernon, WA, I chose two varieties that are supposed to do well in our area (Puget Sound region of Washington State).

I obtained about 50 cuttings of a white, Madeleine Angevine, from Lopez Island Winery, and another 50 or so of a red, Regent, from a grower in Grapeview WA. My colleague at work (whose small vineyard is in Vancouver, WA) provided cuttings from his prunings of Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, and Dolcetto.

After rooting all these cuttings, with very good success, in a cold frame I chose a grassy area out in the front of our property and borrowed our neighbors 3-point posthole digger and started digging holes.

Planting on 10-Jun-08

After planting about 250 plants, watering them in, and giving them a few weeks, they really started taking off. Here they are in early July.

Quite a few of the Madeleine Angevine flowered, and even though all advise to remove these, I want to let them produce grapes even the first year.

We have had some pretty warm weather this summer and by 10-Aug-08 they were coming along just fine. Each plant has a bamboo stake to train the upright stem.

And by late August, they have really started to shoot upward. The grape clusters are really starting to fill out. I pruned leaves away from each cluster to increase air circulation and to give more sunlight to promote ripening.

About 25 of the 40 Madeleine Angevine plants have grape clusters, so if the birds don't get them, I may have enough for a small batch of wine! Only 3 or 4 of the Regents (a red) have grapes, so no wine from them this year.