Winter is still here and I’m over it. The days are too short, the temperature too cold, and the sun hides behind rain clouds too shy to say hello. It’s not like I dislike winter. On the contrary, winter means all the best holidays, snowboarding, hot coco, and snuggling in a warm blanket and binge watching a good Netflix show (Black Mirror is crazy). However, there is just so much to do this spring at Del Rio that I just can’t wait!

Mainly, we are planting Birdseye. Whaaaatt? Yesssss concerned citizen! We are going to start planting as soon as we get a couple of days without rain (a pipe dream, but I cling to hope). Now some of you may be thinking ,“But aren’t vineyards usually planted in the summer?”  Yes, this is true. Lots of vineyards are planted in summer, but we want to plant before frost season and not after. The idea behind this is to get the plants in the ground before they wake up from hibernation and become aware of what is going on. Right now all the plants are sleeping like little babies. Their buds are hard, they have little water in their system, and they aren’t growing. However, as soon as we start getting some warmer days the plants will start waking up. They’ll pop out little leaves like adorable little flags and wave them like they just don’t care.

Planting the dormant plants earlier in the season gives the roots time to adapt to their new soil. This way when they start growing in the summer they can really take off. Waiting to plant means placing active plants in the ground causing them to stagger step while getting used to the new soil, and finally taking off in late summer. They also wont go to sleep till late fall opening them up to winter frost damage if they aren’t dormant in time.  Planting before frost season has shown an increase crop yield the first year of harvest from 50% yield to somewhere around 75%.

Now you’re thinking to yourself, “ Well Clayton that just makes all kinds of sense. Of course ,you should do it this way. You’d be crazy not to. You must be a genius worthy of some kind of prize” (oh stop you’ll make me blush). HOWEVER!!!!!!!! You have not heard the cons. If we get some warm days and the buds with their little flags pop out too early, they are more susceptible to frost than older plants and we could lose them. This forces us to replace the dead plants and puts us another year away from producing grapes. Some might say it’s better to plant in the summer after frost season and avoid the risk (just added a little excitement there didn’t I).  I will say we’ve done it this way lots of times and it usually goes pretty well. However, you never know what Mother Nature will do.  When you’re up late at night thinking ,“God I hope those baby plants at Birdseye aren’t too cold,” just know I’m awake thinking the same thing.

In addition to all the planting coming up at Birdseye there are a lot of other things to do when the sun comes out. There are barns to fix, rows to mend, fallen trees to clean up, among other things. When the sun finally decides to show its pretty face, we’ll be ready to take advantage of it. Plus, I’ve been in the shop too long. I need some vitamin D, (starting to get cranky, and pale). . . Bottom line, the sun needs to come out.


The Pale One

Clayton Wallace

PS – I miss my farmers tan.



No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.