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Explore videos and other information to learn more about the latest in vineyard practices and technology.
Vigneron Conversations: Pruning
Clay Shannon, Bruce Merrilees, and Jonathan Walters discuss various pruning methods and how operations in the vineyard are changing due to climate fluctuation, vine health, and labor availability. “We’re not just pruning. We’re creating a framework that needs to support the whole year, the following year, and the next 10 to 20 years of the vine.”
Vigneron Conversations: Irrigation
Clay Shannon, Bruce Merrilees, and Jonathan Walters discuss techniques and technology related to vineyard irrigation. Precise monitoring of moisture levels will produce a balanced vine and grape. “If you water correctly, your vine matures the fruit correctly…”
Vigneron Conversations: Cover Crops
Clay Shannon, Bruce Merrilees, and Jonathan Walters discuss the benefits and challenges of different cover crops and their impact on sustainability. “We’re going to going to continue to evolve. Whether we plant cover crop or don’t plant cover crop, or cultivate or don’t cultivate…I think every winter is going to have an impact on that decision you make for spring.”
Vigneron Conversations: Crop Load Management
Clay Shannon, Bruce Merrilees, and Jonathan Walters discuss how pruning, shoot thinning, disease management, rootstock selection, and water availability impact crop load.
Randy Krag (Beckstoffer Vineyards) discusses some of the techniques used to prevent soil erosion, which he says is essential in protection of rivers, waterways, lakes, of habitat of fish and wildlife: “Soil is the foundation of how we produce quality winegrapes, so we want to protect the resource that’s out here. This is the heart of sustainable farming – keeping the resource in as good a condition for the future as it was when started using it.”
Randy Krag from Beckstoffer Vineyards explains how drip irrigation “provides a precise and uniform amount of water, exactly the amount of water that we think the vine needs in a particular period.” He says that vineyard owners used to water vines “a whole lot more than we do now.” However, he says, “it turns out vines don’t need anywhere near as much water as we were giving them, say, thirty years ago… Drip irrigation allows us to reduce the amount of water that we use and to give only as much water as we think is necessary for high-quality fruit.”
Jeff Lyon, a Lake County vineyard owner, explains that “evapotranspiration” was originally measured by placing a large pan of water in a field and then every day measuring the evaporation from the pan. He says that in the modern viticultural era evapotranspiration, or ET, is calculated based on measurable data such as relative, wind, temperature, and solar radiation. Bruce Merrilees then demonstrates a tool for measuring ET in the field. Once growers know the ET, they can replace a percentage of that water through irrigation, typically 25% to 30%.