So what if it is too hot in the vineyard for the parrots? Where do we find Erbse then? Find out in this video:
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10 months after the 2015 harvest any aches and pains created by the harvesting experience will hopefully be forgotten by anyone who joined us then. And so this is a good time to open a bottle of the finished 2015 Bio-Praedikatswein, nicely chilled, with all helpers and anyone else curious in comparing 2015 to our earlier vintages. If you are interested, email us for more details. We are very excited!
I always picture an avalanche when the weeds sweep over (or under) our vines. Experiencing this avalanche helps with understanding the glyphosate discussion: how much manual effort is necessary to keep the weeds in check; the pros and cons of all those methods; only then can I picture why so many farmers are so intent on holding on to a “simple” chemical that gets rid of this avalanche.
Glyphosate, how I understand it, are designed to travel to the inside of the plant they are applied to, in order to kill it from within. That “drying out” effect is also used on grains and potatoes, which sounds particularly nutty, to spray it on the finished fruit; when usually, one would observe a period of say 6 weeks of no spraying, before harvesting anything. That’s why it is forbidden in some countries.
But coming back to the avalanche and our attempts at dealing with it (manually): straw has been dealt with in a previous post earlier this year; but these three images show: 1) the avalanche of weeds; 2) a fleece designed to stop the weeds from growing; and 3) a conventional neighbour’s chemical efforts.
Or, put together:
This update brings you pics of our grapes as at beginning of July, looking good in small-pea size.
What exactly is the “yay” for? What’s the excitement, you may ask?
For us, the excitement is huge, we would barely recognise them as Silvaner grapes. What we see is the product of trials and tribulations, of lots of discussions and thoughts as to how we can improve.
To recap: We have previously blogged on how Silvaner grapes stand as tightly as if squeezing onto a London rush hour train (see the July 2015 pics here); and that these tightly packed berries are a problem, especially in organic agriculture, since the “shoulder-to-shoulder” points of those tightly packed berries will eventually yield to mould. Mould, yes. I did a post on that, too, how “beautiful” it can look. That was in our first organic year (2013) and we have since worked non-stop to find ways to take the growth out of the plants, through the soil mainly, to get smaller bunches with loser grapes, to find the ripeness we wanted. Halving is another big part of that effort (see here). We halved the in the last two years, but still had “London”-style grapes.
This year, we halved very very early. When we had tiddly things, the size of a third of a finger; when we had to imagine what they would look like when large and where the London tube feeling would arise. It was fiddly stuff, with finger tips.
And these pics suggest that our vines went along with what we did and gave us Silvaner grapes we would not recognise as such. Result!
To dampen all that enthusiasm, – one of the illnesses is very present with all the rain, in the whole region, so we will not yet stop to keep the fingers crossed for this year. Time to think of a harvest date!
We are halfing, removing water shoots, managing the jungle of weeds, managing the canopy by placing the shoots between wire; – and discovering lots of wildlife in the process, – including a lot of caterpillars that have to go. All of this manually. And when the spraying tractors have stopped, when the rain gives us a dry window: the place almost looks romantic. A “figure” in red t-shirt and with gloved hands can be seen working away in all three pics of the collage.