Tag Archives: rootstock

It’s a Jungle Out There!

On June 28th we had rain! Rain! Such an unlikely occurrence that we had scheduled a crew to come up and do what is called canopy management. This consists of tucking long vines in the last of the three wires to attempt to keep shadow off the fruit zone as well as tipping any that threatened to fall over the fruit zone, pulling internal laterals which grow inside the fruit zone and also shadow the fruit zone and can prevent good air circulation, and suckering to remove all unwanted growth on the vine. Well, it rained…poured actually. Mom had a cold so she gave up and we went back to the City. Fast forward ten days and the rain had produced so much extra growth that it looked like the Amazon! Below you can see the before and after. It took two full days: yesterday 7 guys worked all day, and today 19 guys worked all day, but the vineyard is all buttoned up now. We will begin watering soon and hope for an early verasion (the grapes change color from green to purple) because approximately 45 days after the beginning of verasion we can expect harvest. It is a pretty good indicator, but there are several things that can get in the way. Let’s not go into that now!

And one last thing that you might be interested in. Remember the Rootstock + Bud = Perfect Marriage post? (You can review by going back a few posts.)

Here are the before and after pictures. For the most part we had success…we estimate at least a 95% take on all the grafts that were done! The budders will return sometime this month to re-bud any failures…and a new block of pinot noir Swan clone is born!

Ok folks…that’s it for today! We are having a Fourth of July redux BBQ tonight and I am going to need to help mom with some of the arrangements. Until next time!

My neighbor has two dogs. One of them says to the other, “Woof!”

The other replies, “Moo!”

The dog is perplexed. “Moo? Why did you say, ‘Moo’?”

The other dog says, “I’m trying to learn a foreign language.” – Morey Amsterdam

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Rootstock + Bud = Perfect Marriage!

Briefly, Red Dog Vineyard has four clones of pinot noir planted: Swan, 777, 115, and Pommard. There are many clones of the pinot noir varietal… these four clones were chosen by our winemakers for their ability to convey certain characteristics into the finished wine.

Like varietal clones, there are many rootstocks that can be planted based on soil type, among other things. Last spring we planted 3309 rootstock which was chosen for our specific site on Sonoma Mountain Road because of it grows well in our clay loam soil. It has grown for almost a year to let it develop a good root system in anticipation for grafting and Friday we did just that: 3309 rootstock + Swan clone bud.

The Swan clone budwood has been stored at Grey Creek Viticultural Services since February when it was cut, gathered, and bound in packs of 50 after pruning. The canes are cut so that there are about 8 buds per cane and each cane is about 2 1/2 feet long when it is bundled. Being that the budwood is from our own vineyard, it is called a field selection and comes from the strongest, most balanced vines. It has been stored at this facility at 37 degrees in moist sawdust filled bags to ensure the survival of the buds on each cane.

Here is a rootstock that was planted last spring.  By the time the budders get to each individual plant, the green growth has been removed leaving only the stem. The budders work in pairs, the first budder cuts a groove into the rootstock stem, then cuts a bud off one of the canes that were picked up Thursday from cold storage. He then slips it snugly into the groove. The next budder…

wraps the bud with white tape very snugly to keep it in place. You can see the bud peeking out of the tape. Hopefully in about 4 weeks we will see a little green leaf pop out, the beginning of a nice strong shoot that will eventually become  main trunk of the vine. But we aren’t done yet…

The final stage is enclosing the budded rootstock in a milk carton tube to make a nice warm growing environment and protect it from nibbling rabbits. Then we sit back and hope that all 1460 grafts take. Unfortunately, there are always a few misses and so the remaining budwood was taken back to cold storage until the budders come back to redo any grafts that have not taken.

Whew! It was hard enough to supervise all the work going on in the vineyard today AND patrol the perimeter in search of my nemesis, the dreaded bunny, So instead of blogging, I went to bed early. This morning Dad took me out for breakfast and to run a few errands. Can you say “happy dog”?



“If your dog doesn’t like someone you probably shouldn’t either.” – Unknown

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