To prepare for the coming growing season, we have a laundry list of maintenance priorities. On top of the list is perhaps the most fun part of this time of year. Cleaning the water tanks. They must be drained and scrubbed due to our water source having a high iron content. This can take several days and requires one of us, Jamison, to climb in and out several times. Once our water supply is cleaned, high water pressure is used to flush our drip lines of any residue that could have dried out in them over the winter. 

We will also continue laying down compost along every plant and every row. 

The Waiting and Testing Game

At this point in the year, the spraying is done, the maintenance is done and the preparation is hopefully done. Now it becomes a watering and waiting game. As the growing year nears its end, the numbers we rely on for testing and deciding our harvest date is under the control of our watering. To balance the acidity and sugar content, or brix, of fruit, watering must be carefully managed to allow these numbers to rise and fall into specific ranges for each. Too much watering can drop the acid but not allow the brix to rise enough, but also not enough watering can cause the brix to rise too much without the acid levels dropping. It is weeks of constant testing and adjusting, just like the winemaking process itself. 

Bear Spotted!

Our game camera, which usually fills itself with pictures of the various deer and rabbits that roam the local lands, finally captured our nemesis. We've been hoping to catch a picture of him this year and we finally have. Last night around 10:45 pm our furry friend walked by our camera. He didn't stay long and didn't try to get inside the fence, so we'll let him wander around all he wants. 

Bear Strikes Neighbor's Vineyard

We've been fortunate this year. Our electric fence has done its job and kept the bear outside of the vineyard. There are a few places where he or she has climbed over our fence, but we've managed to keep them away from our fruit. However, our neighbor isn't as lucky. Over the past few nights the bear has ransacked her vineyard and destroyed a majority of her crop! All we can hope for is that he's had his fill and leaves us alone...