To hedge or not to hedge….

Lot’s of things going on in the vineyards right now. Just about everyone I talk with says they are behind (the average season) in maturity of the grapes. The warm weather has definitely been good, but I’ve heard as much as one month behind schedule for some vineyards.

The canes on the vines have shot up like rockets stretching nearly 3 feet in some spots over the past three weeks. But still we can’t seem to catch up. As little as one week  ago it was cold and rainy. The good news is there is not any rain in the forecast and the temps appear to be holding in the above 80-degree range during the day. Today is down right hot with most regions in wine country well above the 90-degree mark.

One of the topics that came up this weekend in the tasting room was hedging. Usually at this stage in the game some vineyards are being hedged by a machine attached to a tractor that literally gives the top of the vines a haircut. This is done to control the amount of photosynthesis which in turn controls the amount of vigor, or energy, the vines have. Too much energy and your grapes can be out of balance.

Here’s an example of a hedged vineyard….


See how everything is perfect? That’s how you know that the vines have been cut. I just happened to see this one on my way home and thought it was a good example.
Just about every other vineyard  hasn’t been hedged, including this one….

These are still growing “wild”. That’s not to say that this vineyard won’t see some hedging in the future, it just wasn’t done at this point in time.

There are plenty of vineyards where hedging would be impossible, so it’s not always imperative. But in some areas it really helps with the leaf to grape cluster ratio. Generally, you want about 15-20 leaves per cluster. If there’s more than that, then it’s time to hedge.

From what I can see, most are hedging their bets on not hedging at the moment. We’ll see what happens.

Cheers!

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