Our 17th Growing Season is Beginning at Mount Salem Vineyards
We are beginning our 17th growing season here at Mount Salem Vineyards. And, like a newborn baby who grows into a college-bound young adult after 17 years, we’ve evolved into a formidable wine and food operation with serious chops.
When we first began growing grapes here in Hunterdon County almost two decades ago, people told us not to bother; that nothing would ripen in the area. But we suspected better – since New Jersey’s climate resembled that of modern-day Austria, a world-class wine region, we gave it a go with grape vines indigenous to that area.
Thankfully, we were spot-on, and we now produce 12 critically acclaimed varieties. Despite the changes that the last few months have brought, the show must go on, and right now is prime-time for prepping for our next growing season.
What we’re up to
Budbreak – which is when the new buds on vines burst open – isn’t until May, but we still have our hands full during the coming weeks with vine pruning, repairing trellis (the structure of wood posts and wires that the vines grow on), modifying our weed and fungus control program as necessary and repairing and replacing equipment as needed.
How we’re adapting with COVID-19
This year, we’re especially cognizant of making sure that our excellent, well-trained team of vineyard employees is healthy and able to help us ready the vineyard. Unfortunately, that’s complicated by COVID-19 travel restrictions, and of course it’s always possible that someone could become ill and unable to work.
As we’ve learned, nature doesn’t care if we don’t have enough people: the vines are going to open up and grow throughout the year, whether we’re ready for them or not!
The silver lining
But the good news – this isn’t our first rodeo. Now that our vineyard is mature – meaning that our vines are all well-established – they will provide a full crop of outstanding fruit by fall harvest. Plus, since they have deep root systems now, we don’t have to worry about a dry growing season – our vines find enough moisture deep in the soil.
We’re more mature, too, in a sense – we’re more knowledgeable and experienced ourselves, so our work is more efficient and effective. We also have the confidence from our experience that good things will come from this – as we also know what can go wrong (especially acts of nature) that we can’t predict or avoid!
So, what does this mean for your favorite variety of Mount Salem Vineyards wine? Only time will tell! We can’t wait to see what our 17th growing season brings to the barrels. Stay tuned to watch our progress through what we hope will be another fruitful season here at the farm.