Trellis Repair

Zach, Lars and Jeff have been working hard today! They are replacing broken wood trellis posts in the concord patch with metal posts.  This is a three man job minimum; someone to drive the tractor, someone to hold the post, and someone to drill the post into the ground.

Jeff expertly drives the tractor down the rows and positions the bucket.  Lars drills the new post next to the failing one.  The neat tool Lars is using is a Skidril. It fits over the top of the post, held by Zach, and is jackhammered into the ground in just a few seconds. It is loud and heavy work. 

Posted by Anja Weyant

Fun in the Pond

Watch out! The kids have squirt guns!

After a hot week picking blueberries and working in the vineyards we are all ready for a cool afternoon in the pond.  Rachel brought over 2 rafts and a handful of squirt guns.  The girls inevitably wind up together in one raft with Lars, Toben and Leif in the other.  Chaos ensues.  Anja documents a safe distance away with Torin.

Toben spends an impressive amount of time swimming next to the raft.  It was a great day to take a break with uncle Lars.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Blueberry Time

The blueberry harvest is in full swing.  The blueberry patch features several varieties of plants and is just next to the barn.  From the Winery deck you can view the patch. We added shiny metallic tape as a bird deterrent this year and the harvest is significantly larger.  Fortunately Anja’s family is in town and Rachel’s children were game to make some headway on the patch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Anja Weyant

Wine and Chocolate Pairing: First Attempt

Let me start by saying that you should drink the wine you like with what you like to eat and therefore, should probably take someone’s wine pairing suggestion with a grain of salt[y chocolate].  I actually think that plain chocolate goes with most wine.  And by plain I just mean milk chocolate and the various degrees of dark chocolate.  I just really like chocolate and wine.

I recently visited the Lindt outlet in Carlisle and thought it would be fun to pair the Long Shot wines with the myriad of flavored truffles. Our naive expectations were that all the truffles would go more or less with every wine, and this would be a silly game, were we just make up what is “best” with what. And we were very wrong. Very, very wrong.

While we stand by the idea that most wine goes with most plain chocolate, flavored chocolate is a whole different beast. Example:  Chambourcin wine and orange chocolate do NOT go together.  Kinda like the pair of friends you have that you never invite to the same event. Chambourcin wine is best with just plain dark chocolate truffles.  We also thought that really sweet wine, like Concord, worked well with salty truffles.

But there were a few wines that were really enhanced when paired with flavored chocolate.  For instance, Vidal Blanc wine pairs well with citrus in general, so it was natural to try the Valley Blush wine, which is a blend with Vidal Blanc, with orange chocolate.  Wow.  We were all pretty shocked at the outcome.  Similarly, the Vidal Blanc wine and citrus truffle are absolutely splendid together.

Here is our list of recommendations
  • Concord and sea salt
  • Chambourcin and dark chocolate
  • Chardonel and almond
  • Vidal Blanc and citrus
  • Blackberry and extra dark or hazelnut
  • Fletched and coconut or strawberry
  • Chambourcin Rose and white chocolate (strawberries and cream anyone?)
  • Valley Blush and orange
  • Winter Blend and salted caramel

Nota bene: blueberry truffles hated all wine pairings. At least in our mouths.

posted by Anja Weyant

Trimmin’ Traminette

Duff and Leif set about getting their field north of Possum Lake ready for summer. They have several rows of Traminette vines that were planted last year, but due to a bad case of downy mildew at the end of last summer (which had a never ending monsoon of rain, great for fungal diseases!), the vines had lost almost all growth.

Beyond the mildew, one must also contend with the voracious appetites of the Cumberland County white-tail. One would think that with the fields of oats, wheat, soybeans, hay, and sweet corn that cover Cumberland County, plus the odd manicured lawn, the deer would not have much use for grape vines. But as Duff’s father would say, that’s what you get for thinking. Deer will try and eat whatever is before them, even if they don’t like it, out of sheer boredom it seems.

This year is going to be different!

First Duff taught Leif how to trim back the vine to three or four healthy buds.  As it is early spring, the interior of the cane where it is still alive is green. Often there would be up to 6ft of dead vine from the downy mildew before one started finding green stem. After Leif got the hang of finding the living part of the vine, he would count three or four buds up from the roots, and prune the rest off. This was so the plant would focus its energy in making those few buds into long canes, not making 10 or 20 short little ones.

Meanwhile, Duff played John Henry, pounding oak stakes next to all the vines. This is for deer. Well, not so much for the deer, but rather to spite the deer. Tree tubes are placed next to the stakes and around the vines. The top of the tube is zip-tied to the oak stake. The base of the tube is buried mulch, and the vine after being trimmed is at the bottom.

Leif was a real trooper, and due to exercising at 7000ft regularly, thought running the oak stakes and tree tubes up and down the rows was easy work, even with the hard winds coming off the mountain. Enough light can still get through the blue tubes for the plant to grow.

So far, the deer have not taken to eating plastic tree tubes, which will protect the poor vines up until at least mid-summer, when the vine should poke out the top. When coupled with a bit more judicious spraying and a bit less rain, the vines should do well.

 

Posted by Anja Weyant