Sheldon Haynie
January 29, 2012 | Vineyards | Sheldon Haynie



A nice title, it has connotations of boardrooms, nice business attire and reviewing operational results with investors. Or perhaps in our usuage its a bit different. While I am still involved in the Finance, (had to use that MBA for something) I spend a great deal more time as the "Farming" officer. Today was a typical example, finishing up the pruning at Soli Deo Gloria Vineyard, a bright pleasant day, amidst the splendor of the South County. 

Pruning at our scale is a very hands on practice, even with mechanical pre-pruning, a person still has to walk the rows, and cut every cane, deciding on how many buds to leave and which canes are the keepers. By budbreak in March, I'll have touched every vine in the 13.5 acres and made over 300,00 cuts on 12,000 vines over 13 miles of cordon. Its taking me about 6-7 hours an acre, depending on the style of trellising, and the vigor of the vines, so that's about 100 hours of time contemplating nature up close and personal. 

Neighboring vineyards are starting to prune as well, and its interesting to see the different styles of trellising emerge from the canes, and to note the different practices, whether they collect canes for burning, or shred in row and till them in. Since my farming office is only filled on weekends this time of year, the changes come in jumps, where last week the vines were shaggy, and this week they are all groomed, its pretty impressive what a multiple man crew can do working 5 days a week. 

Jane and I have realized that we need to probably add to our tools, as just the task of inspecting the irrigation on the bigger vineyards (8 miles of wire) will take something moving at better than walking speed that can carry spares. I may start on my mountain bike, but suspect we will end up with one of these. The alternative is an ATV, but at our age, the idea of riding powersport toy vs driving something more like a small pick up is not as appealing. 


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