MHV New & Updates
Posted February 28, 2012
It's an exciting time, but in some ways scary, particularly for the newer vineyard owner. Why? Pruning is an art form, as much as it is science. At one point, after the leaves have dropped in early winter, there remains swirls and tangles of vines, with some shoots having reached as far along the trellis system as 30 ft. or more! The scary part is watching all that growth get cut away, leaving behind only a handful of buds on each of the vine's two arms, buds that will produce new shoots in the spring, which will lead to the production of wonderful fruit of the vine.
So, following all that pruning, what do we do with the skads of vine cuttings on the vineyard floor? It would be a true mess to try to smash them into green waste can for recycling, and we can't just leave them lay there. So, we take advantage of using our handy, dandy portable power chipper/shredder. Our small but powerful chipper will reduce the straggly vines to a fine mulch at the rate of 6 bushel baskets down to just one. What then? The resulting mulch can be spread right back on the vineyard to help replace nutrients expended during the prior year's growth. The cycle of nature...how wonderful. Nothing is wasted.
There is one other important use, however, for those prunings. Cuttings can be taken from them, which can then be placed into pots for rooting new vines. Did you know that's how vines are grown? Never from seed, always from cuttings. Many vineyards replace worn-out, diseased, or dead vines from cuttings from their own vineyard. Moreover, cuttings make a wonderful and very special gift to a family member or friend. Think about it....
Posted February 29, 2012
During the recent pruning of our largest vineyard at the Gates estate, located in the foothills of Glendora, we were visited by a professional videographer, Mark Ryan, owner of Flow-Films located located in Los Angels. His web site is www.Flow-Films.com. Mark's company is a two-time James Beard Foundation award-winning production company specializing in food, wine and lifestyle programming and advertising. Mark contacted us with an interest in filming some of our home vineyards and related maintenance and activities. Mark did just that, shooting extensive video of our pruning activities and interviewing George Walker, MHV owner, and vineyard customer representative and close friend of the Gates family, Dr. Chuck Metzger, M.D.
Mark also took some time to sample some of the Gates/Metzger fine wine, while also tasting and chatting with us about the Gates/Metzger first harvest wines. These first harvest wines were produced from the Gates estate vineyard in the fall of 2011, with fruit from their 400 three-year-old vines planted by MHV. These new wines, a "super Tuscan" blend of Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and a straight-up Montepulciano, are exceptional for first harvest-made wines. They are currently resting and aging in American and Hungarian oak barrels.
Mark is in the process of creating his own Wine Blog, which will eventually feature this visit with MHV and others yet to come. We hope to include videos of new growth in the spring, shoot and cluster thinning in the early summer, veraison (ripening of the grapes) in mid/late summer, and eventually, harvest in the fall. We also hope that Mark will join us at a couple of the Cucamonga Valley Vintners Cooperative primary winemaking events, starting with our Spring Bottling Fest coming up on May 12th.
Thanks for including us in your new Blog, Mark, and we wish you all the success your hard work can bring you!
More to come!
A Votre Sante!
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Well, there's nothing easy about keeping a blog updated. Check above, and you'll see that I've not posted anything since my first two posts in late February. It could have been laziness on my part...but don't believe it. We have been busy the last couple of months installing vineyards, spraying for powdery mildew, and treating each and every vine to combat the dreaded Pierece's Disease, spread by the almost alien-looking Glassy-winged Sharpshooter. There is even more excitement in the air, as this week we are preparing for our Cucamonga CoOp's annual Spring Bottling Fest this coming Saturday. 450 gallons of home wine will be bottled, and each of 25 CoOp members will take home their share of the 2011 vintages...Cucamonga Old Vines Zin, CoOp Rocky Top Vineyard Petite Sirah, Northern San Diego County Zinfandel, and last but certainly not least, Weaver Vineyard Temecula Chardonnay.
It's been a busy year. Lots of consulting, planted a few new vineyards and rehabbed a few others, planted our first commercial vineyards at Big Bear Lake; and have been assisting a number of vineyard customers and other vineyard owners with their harvests and winemaking. It's been a crazy growth year due that started with the affects from a relatively mild 2011/2012 winter season. An early bud break, a mild spring and a mild summer further complicated what was otherwise great weather, but not so much for the vines. As the result, we witnessed a reduced yield here in Cucamonga, and smaller than usual yields in many other vineyards, due to excessive raisining resulting from slow sugaring. Nevertheless, the winemaking has been good, although the harvests were smaller. We still have a couple home vineyards that are yet to be harvested, and the harvests up in the central coast and further north will not begin until at least mid October and forward.
Home Wine Testing