Tales from the Shale - Vineyard Journal Apr. 26, 2018

April 26, 2018 -- TYING THE VINES
Written by Autumn Stoscheck (Instagram: @myvineyardyear)

My first day tying vines at Forge Cellars (and ever for that matter). The Hector wind has died down, the sun is out, the birds are singing and the lake is shimmering in the distance. This little French tying tool is really slick. It's kinda like hog tie pliers, but with a biodegradable twist tie material.

This time of year is so exciting. Even though it's still cold and from the outside the vines look like they are still sleeping, I know that so much is happening in the plant realms that I can't see. The roots of the vines are growing, getting their networks in place for photosynthesis and working in concert with their mycorrhizal allies. And do you know that intoxicating smell after an early spring rain? I like to think it's the smell of the soil microbiome kicking in to high gear.

May 4, 2018
There are a lot of parallels between orcharding and vineyarding...today was the day that this long, slow start to spring really seemed to be over. The sun came out and got hot between warm rains, the tree frogs and the peepers reached a defining pitch and you could almost watch the buds swelling in real time. All day I was getting texts from both my orchard and vineyard people. "Did you finish pruning?" "Did you get that spray on?" "Did you finish tying?" "Is your tractor fixed?" "Did the brush get pulled?" For a lot of folks, this time of year is just enjoyable but for my friends who farm woody perennials it's a different feeling: suddenly the season is off to an unstoppable start. Roots multiplying, sap flowing, leaves ready to begin unfurling at a dizzying pace. Somewhere between panic and euphoria, we kick into a higher gear and now it's a race to the finish line. Today at the Forge home vineyard, my intern and I tied 2,600 vines: a race against time as the buds are now popping, incredibly fragile and ready to begin opening. Luckily we will finish tomorrow, not a moment too soon...