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Don't neglect your vines after harvest!

I'm often dismayed to see vineyards crash after harvest, dropping their leaves after the fruit is picked. So often it seems that vineyard managers cut off irrigation before harvest and leave it off thereafter, seemingly thinking their vines are done for the year. But, the vines are not done. Harvest may end the current season, but it begins the next one. It is important to allow the vines to recover from the current season so they produce and store carbohydrate, take up nutrients and come out strong at budbreak the following year. Vines that are tired going into dormancy will push out unevenly and weakly the year to follow. Weak vine growth may tempt growers to irrigate earlier than they should, so allow your vines to recover now.

Some growers will give the vines one big drink. And while some growers will irrigate after harvest using their overhead sprinklers, this is a very inefficient use of water in the current drought climate. Rather, I suggest keeping the vines on an irrigation schedule using drip irrigation, at a slightly longer irrigation interval than was used prior to harvest. The goal is to keep green leaves on the vines, but not to create re-growth of shoot tips. Moderation is key. As the weather cools and days grow short and, hopefully, some rains come, irrigation can be reduced and then turned off.

That said, dry-farmed vineyard growers will scoff at my comments above. For those of you who dry-farm your vineyards, your vines are not in need of irrigation after harvest. Rather, you've built a root system extensive enough and with soil having sufficient water holding capacity that the vines are not dependent on supplemental irrigation. We'll discuss weaning vineyards off of excess irrigation in a later newsletter. Stay tuned.

It is also important to apply some nutrients to the vineyards right after harvest, before the leaves senesce. Waiting until leaves turn yellow and fall off is too late. Vines cannot take up nutrients at that point. And fertilization should be done with a light hand. Applying too much nitrogen could possibly cause renewed shoot growth (not desirable) and if any nitrate is not taken up, it may percolate below the root zone from winter rains.

Don't forget your post-harvest cover crops and/or soil amendments either. Contact Mark if you need any site-specific advice.

AV Vineyard Development and Management

A lot of people know Mark Greenspan and AV's technical services, but not everyone seems to know that we're not just about ideas, we also are about action. AV started its vineyard management business in 2011, but we are not new to vineyard management and development.

Alec Roser (  is our vineyard manager and vineyard development project manager. He joined us in 2011 to start up that phase of our service offerings. Alec has been developing and managing vineyards for about 15 years. He has developed vineyards throughout the coastal regions of California, including Napa, Sonoma, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Alec studied viticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College, obtaining his certificate in Viticulture. But, his education reaches far beyond that, having worked with many of the industry's finest winemakers and vineyard managers. Alec has led the development of 5 vineyards since arriving at AV (like the one in the image above), and our clients have been impressed with his and his team's attention to detail. And he's taken some rather rough-looking, poorly-producing existing vineyards and managed them into productive, high-quality vineyards, selling fruit to some very picky high-end wineries.

Alec's practical knowledge and can-do attitude allows us to provide expert vineyard management supported by technical expertise. Contact Alec if you have any needs for vineyard management or vineyard establishment. And don't forget, we can design your vineyard too. Contact Mark to get that ball rolling.
Mark and Alec stand in one of their newly-planted state-of-the-art vineyards in western Sonoma County.

Mark hosts vineyard water conservation video

Supported by a USDA RMA (Risk Management Agency) grant, and managed by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, Mark Greenspan hosted a video on the basics of efficient water management in vineayrds.
Fall promotion on soil moisture probes!
Fall is a great time to think about improving your water management practices. Advanced Viticulture is offering $100 off the suggested retail price of Aquacheck Soil Moisture probes now through the end of Fall. This includes wireless probes (with built-in data loggers) and standard probes connected to telemetry devices, such as Ranch Systems nodes and base stations, for which AV is an authorized re-seller. Discount applies only to probes, not other associated equipment or installation fees and is not additive to other discounts, but we will offer you the lower price of the two discounts. Contact us and mention the October newsletter to receive the discount.
Copyright © 2015 Advanced Viticulture, Inc. and Advanced Viticulture Consulting, Inc., All rights reserved.

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