Part 2: How To Plant a Vineyard
Two weeks ago, we introduced you to the gritty, difficult and anything-but-romantic process of planning to plant a vineyard, as we did just that to ready for two new acres of grape vines in Milford.
Last week, we completed most of that work, which included a rare surprise – budbreak of new leaves, with the promise of new fruit and new wine – occurred on the very same day we started planting.
However, despite the exciting news, planting those vineyards that now include Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Cabernet Franc and Barbera was not an easy task, as always. Instead, we had to stick to our strict, time-honored system of planting to ensure that most of our new vines would survive.
How We Plant a Vineyard
About 24-48 hours before planting, we remove the vines from their shipping boxes and immerse them in vats of fresh, cool water to keep them hydrated. Then, our diggers get to work, and as soon as the earth is opened and is still moist, a planter takes one vine from its bucket at a time and plants it directly in the earth, covering the roots with freshly-dug soil.
Usually, it takes about four hours to ready one acre of land (which will be home to about 700 vines), and then, about a day-and-a-half for eight people to plant them on that same land.
We aim to do this heavy labor in April, when the weather is not too cold nor too hot. However, we still have to work quickly, because those April breezes can actually dry out a plant’s root if it isn’t planted fast enough. A dessicated, or dried-out, vine will likely die after it is planted.
Unfortunately, there are endless other issues that can befall planting as well. Those include losing precious time and daylight if one’s team is not thoroughly organized; equipment failures; and extreme weather, as April can have very hot, sunny and humid days as well as freezing, snowy and wet days.
Luckily, this time around, we won the battle – our planting went so well that we actually finished a few hours early. That means that we’re well on our way to yet another bountiful, glorious harvest – and batch of delicious fine wines.
Learn more about Mount Salem Vineyards by contacting us at 908-735-9359 or visiting mountsalemvineyards.com or 54 Mount Salem Road, Pittstown.