Tuesday, May 01, 2012

39 hours and 10 minutes locked in a tractor, today's harvest, decapitated 4 yo vines

1 Maggio
Today is Labor Day in Italy which means I worked, but only 6 hours.  I have been trapped in my tractor with the rotary plow attachment cleaning the weeds between the vines for nearly 40 hours.  With all the rain we received (thank goodness) in late winter/early spring, the weeds were higher than the vines when we started.  Raffaele went ahead of me with the weed eater so the high weeds wouldn't interfere with the plow and we spent the last 6 days making the vineyard look as good as it will all year.  Having finished, I took time out to water the 2 gardens and lo and behold, the first artichokes had arrived along with many roses and irises-below.  You can miss a lot in 6 days.
One of the problems with a rapidly spinning, 3 bladed rotary plow traveling between the vines at warp speed, is every once in a while one of the vines gets decapitated.  I hate losing my 4 year olds after all the work which has gone into making them healthy and training them on the wires.  Here are the casualties of the last 2 days.  I wiped out 6 total in 6 days and at this rate, I will run out of vines in 5,800 years unless I get more careful.  I cut the poor suckers I massacred in 2 pieces and with a great deal of probably misplaced hope, I put the ends in the ground and will see if they grow.

I am a certified master weed eater, so with my grand talent I try to save those weeds which have some esthetic value.  Below is my little patch in the parking lot of what I think is chamomile; tea anyone?

Below is the cleaned vineyard, what a job, but probably it will be the last time I have to do the whole 13.5 acres this year.

 Here are some wild irises (I think) which I found in the neighbor's olive grove.

The Pecorino vines with visible dirt in between the plants.

Unfortunately, we lost over 50% of the primary buds and their leaves in the Pecorino vines due to a surprise cold snap.  That may drastically reduce production-last year we lost 50% due to drought. That is the life of a farmer.  Secondary and tertiary buds will probably come out, but are less productive.  Buds are formed the prior summer with very tiny little grapes and leaves already formed in the bud.

Above, Bacco helping me inspect the Merlot vines and below, the early Merlot clusters and leaves.
All the stuff from our land is certified organic by the organization Suolo e Salute.  That includes the wines, olive oil, fruits and jams and, of course the artichokes-they are wonderful!

One of the pretty weeds in bloom now, the poppies with a little insect inside.

Bottling of 8 new wines is scheduled for May 17th with a Pecorino from 2010 which has spent a bit of time in barrels/tonneau, the 2011 Pecorino which is marvelous, but limited, an un-oaked blend of Cab/Merlot/Syrah, the flagship wine which is our bordeaux blend with all the bordeaux varieties except Malbec, which we didn't plant and then each of those varieties in a 100% form to make 300 boxed sets of the 5 wines for collectors.  Exciting stuff!  Sorry for the lack of posting.