We own and manage 37 acres of vineyard growing fourteen different varieties. Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat Blanc, Riesling, Orange Muscat, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Graciano and Malbec. We are committed to using sustainable farming practices. This means we do not use any pesticide and herbicide. We do use fungicide (mostly sulfur) to control powdery mildew. For the past several years we have made our own compost from apple pulp, saw dust and chicken manure.
Our vineyard year starts in February with pruning the canes from the previous year’s growth. Another spring vineyard duty is to make sure that the canes are tied to the fruiting wire. April is the month of planting. If we don’t plant new acreage, we replace the vines that did not survive the previous growing season. In late April or early May, the regular rhythm of the growing season starts. This is also the time when the vines are showing leaves. Every 10 to 14 days, the vines need to be sprayed to prevent powdery mildew. We mainly use sulfur. We need to weed around the vines regularly, removing the weeds in row with a mechanical device called a grape hoe, which is attached to the tractor. Every four to six weeks, we water the vines. The vines bloom in early to mid-June. As the season progresses, we position the shoots on the trellis wire.
To control growth, we use the Smart Dyson system–half the canes grow up and half the canes grow down. In July, we walk through the vineyard and count the clusters on each vine to prepare an estimate of the crop. If necessary, we thin the grapes and/or the shoots to control the crop load. This keeps us busy through August when the grapes turn color and we cover them with bird netting for protection. The bird netting isn’t removed until harvest, which starts in the middle of September with the Chardonnay. In September, we take samples of grapes once or twice a week to evaluate for sugar, acid and PH to check for their ripeness. The last variety to be harvested is Cabernet Sauvignon, which we pick the second or third week of October. The vineyard year comes to a close with marking vines that did not survive the season and repairing our equipment.
Directions to the vineyard in Palisade:
Coming from the east on I-70, take the first exit (#44) and head west (straight ahead). The road makes a gentle curve following the Colorado River. Our vineyard is on the north side of the road as it straightens out.
Coming from the west on I-70, take the first Palisade exit (#42) and head south on 37 1/3 Road to G Road. Head east on G Road through Palisade and cross over the Colorado River. The vineyard is on the north side of G Road about 1/2 mile east of the Colorado River bridge.
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