Post Planting

Post Planting

We knew there would be difficulties caring for our new baby vines after they went into the ground, but we had no idea how soon they would start. Lee got a call from the planting team as they were driving away from the vineyard: “With this heat wave and drought, you should be covering the vines to make sure they survive.”

Our vineyard was set up for geotextiles. It was supposed to be a vineyard that we never had to bury, but that’s exactly what we were being told to do. The day we finished planting ended up being the first day we used our grape hoe, as the team went to work hilling up over 24 acres. It took several days to complete.

Once safely underground and protected from the heat, the vines still needed to be watered to get them through the drought. Buried and basically invisible, Lee devised a two-phase system to keep them safe. The vineyard team worked in shifts, at sunrise and sunset, alternating between two watering methods. One team drove down the row watering the length of the plantings, drenching the topsoil. The other team walked the vineyard with a water lance, injecting water deep into the soil approximating the location of the vines based on the spacing of the plants. Watering continued even as the buds started to burst with new shoots, and the vines were unburied and exposed to the sun.

The heat eventually broke as the posts for our new trellis system arrived. The posts are designed to be broken down at the end of the season and form a framework for the geotextiles to roll out over, creating an insulated pocket of air over each vine. Their unique hollow design meant the traditional County method of hammering the post directly through the limestone wouldn’t work. After a few failed attempts at hand drilling into the bedrock, Lee called in a 4 ton excavator. It took a matter of minutes from the time the industrial rock drill was dropped off at the vineyard to the time Lee realized that it was broken.

The drill sat for a month awaiting repairs while the days crept closer to fall. It wasn’t until harvest was in full swing that it was finally repaired and fully operational. Angel and Fernando have found their groove, methodically working through each block installing the posts. All that remains is the 17 acre southern site overlooking Pleasant Bay. Now, it’s a race against time to finish the posts and roll out the geotextiles. Follow @redtailvineyardspec on Instagram to watch our journey from bud to bottle.