Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There are many painful things about farming, most of them are things that happen to us - weather, equipment failure, unwanted animals, nutritional problems, and insect pests to name a few. The worst ones are things we do to ourselves. What sense does it make to remove fruit from the vine? How can I make wine if the farming end handicaps the winemaking by dumping perfectly good fruit? Grape vines live to make grapes and young vines are particularly fruitful. Getting the grapes perfectly ripe for making wine is not the plant's goal and they don't think much about the future the hedonistic creatures that they are. Most of our vines are young so this year they set way more fruit than is healthy. So the excess fruit has to go. That means checking out each plant, making some assessment of how strong it is, guestimating how much fruit it can bring to complete ripeness while still remaining strong enough to withstand the rigors of winter and our pruning, and then dropping the rest bunch by bunch. Joan, who spends much more time with the vines than do I, says I'll get used to it. Ouch, ouch, ouch . . . . .

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