Vineyard Management After the Harvest

Vineyard management and maintenance after the harvest

Santa Ynez Vineyard

What Happens in the Vineyard After the Harvest?

Vineyard maintenance after the harvest is very important. Harvest time in a vineyard is both an end and a beginning. The grapes have been picked, signaling the end of the growing season, but not the end of the work in the vineyard. The grapevines have begun to go dormant and now we are preparing for the next year.

Four Vineyard Maintenance Tasks After the Harvest

1.  Removing the bird netting: this is the first task. This is time consuming, but has to be done in order for other important tasks that must be completed.

2. Soil Analysis: After harvest, we like to conduct a soil analysis from soil samples. This will give us a battle plan for the next growing season. The soil samples with give us information on the health of the vineyard’s soil.  Nutrients are very vital to healthy soil. Nutrients that we are speaking of are the following:Calcium

  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Nitrogen

During the soil samples if any of these nutrients are depleted, late fall is the best time to add them back so that the vines can absorb them prior to going dormant. The nutrients can be delivered through “fertigation”,  the irrigation system or spread across the soil.

3. Planting a Cover Crop: In late fall, we also start the process of planting a cover crop. Cover crops are planted between the vine rows which helps to build organic matter, controls erosion, suppress weeds, improves soil structure and reduces nutrient loss. The timing for this is very important. Without proper rain, the new seed won’t germinate.

4. Trellis and Equipment Maintenance: Other post harvest activities include basic maintenance such as adjusting or replacing wire trellises and metal stakes. Equipment maintenance is also done at this time. This would include tractor service and cleaning any spray equipment.

In the end, vineyard maintenance after the harvest season is all about getting ready for the next vintage. “The most important thing a grower can do once the grapes have been harvested, is to look at the overall health of the vines and soil. The cyclical nature of wine grape growing means there’s never really any down time.

How to Plant a Vineyard

how to plant a California Vineyard

Santa Ynez Vineyard

Basic Tips for Planting a Vineyard

Dreaming of owning your own vineyard? You can buy an existing one or buy undeveloped land and build from the ground up. Today we’re going to address the issues of planting a new vineyard.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will you plant on the site?
  2. Is the site cool or warm?
  3. What is the site’s aspect and exposure?
  4. What is the soil type and is it fertile? What about drainage?
  5. What variety of grapes will the future wine market be interested in?

Knowing the answer to these questions will makes it easy for you to start planning and preparing for planting. Some of the decisions you need to make will be in regard to factors like:

1. Soil: Make sure the soil where you want to plant is neutral. To increase pH, add
calcium and in effect reduce acidity. You could engage a soil expert to do soil analysis
and find the site’s best rootstock.

2. Spacing: Space small vines closely to get more harvests. Space out vines in areas
that are more vigorous. The important thing is to create space and balance between the
vine and the fruit. Today’s standard spacing is 8 feet between the rows and 5 feet
between vines.

3. Row direction. If you are in an area where wind is not a cause of worry, keep the
vines in a north/south direction. The leaves become efficient since the broader side of
the vine faces east. In a slopey area, up and down direction will be perfect to control

Vineyard Soil Preparation

Regardless of whether you want to plant a vineyard in summer or winter, you must prepare the soil for the weather. Sub-soiling before winter allows the soil to be stable and resist the effects of rain and frost. During summer, you should sub-soil when the ground is hard and dry. Sub-soiling creates more space in the soil for aeration.

Vines are normally purchased as bare dormant root plants when they are about one year old. The plants can be planted at any time in the season but the best time is immediately after spring.
You should begin to plant vines when the soil is ready and the site is cleared. Use a surveyor tripod to mark the perimeter corners, draw lines with knots at the right spacing and use white powder to marks spots on the soil. Mark every row you create and place stakes where each vine shall be planted.

Get a team to work with you. One person should dig the hole, another place the vine seedling in place and another cover the vines with soil. Water all the plants well and place nursery cartons over the vines.
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Buying a Vineyard in California

Buying a California Vineyard

Vineyard Design & Management Services

Advice for Buying a Vineyard

Americans have overtaken the French and Italians as the world’s foremost wine consumers. As we’ve gained a taste for the fruits of the vine, grapes and wine, we have also developed an appreciation for the places where those fruits are cultivated and harvested. Vineyards, sun dappled and surrounded by ordered, green rows of vines, have grown in popularity as a business and a hobby. Now, buying a vineyard as a business venture is not for everyone, however, building a backyard vineyard and wine making has become cool as a hobby.

Vineyard Market Trends

The United States was once home to just a few hundred vineyards. In the 1970s, before American wine had gained the respect it now enjoys, there were just 400 wineries in the Unites States. Now, there are 7,000.

Many of these new vineyards are in California, nestled in the celebrated wine-producing regions of Napa and Sonoma in the north and in Santa Barbara County and the Central coast. These vineyards have seen a remarkable appreciation in value in the last few decades. Property prices in California’s wine country climbed between 100 percent and 300 percent in each of the decades between 1950 and 2008. Admittedly, these heady prices cooled somewhat during the first years of America’s current economic malaise.

During the recent recession, American consumers turned towards more economical wines, and many vineyards suffered because of this collective move away from the more expensive wines. But the wine industry is quickly rebounding. In fact, in the last year, California’s North Coast has seen its treasured vineyards surge in production and value. Since 2012, a number of wineries – collectively worth more than $300 million – have been sold to new owners.

Is Buying a Vineyard a Good Investment?

Buying a California Vineyard

Santa Ynez Vineyard

Buying a vineyard, in aggregate, can make excellent investments. They are the indispensable nuclei of the expanding industry. But vineyards are not within the means of every individual. John C. Bergman, the founder of a real estate firm in California’s wine country, told Forbes that “The purchase of a vineyard estate is half emotion and half logic.” Bergman’s advice is intended for the majority of wanna-be vintners. Few among us have the resources to grow and produce wine purely for recreational purposes. Those who wish to own a vineyard must have a large amount of available capital if they are going to prosper.

A prospective vintner must, before making his/her purchase, assess his/her financial situation carefully. In all likelihood, if you are looking to buy a vineyard in the United States, you will be purchasing an established vineyard in California. 90 percent of American wine is produced in the state, much of it in the north: in Napa and Sonoma. Prices vary enormously, but typically it costs between $150,000 and $200,000 an acre for a vineyard planted with red varietals. For an acre planted with white grapes, you will need to spend a comparatively modest $115,000 an acre.

If you are not deterred by these sums, it’s important to remember that a vineyard, if it is to be successful, demands constant investment. It must be managed and tended to by an experienced team of grape-growing professionals.

Buying a vineyard, though the treasured aspiration of many a wine enthusiast, is feasible for only a select few. Vineyards in established wine-growing regions are costly and capital intensive. There is a reason for the popularity of the following saying in the wine business: “Do you know how to make a small fortune in the vineyard business? Start with a large one.” That said, if you have the capital and knowledge resources available, buying a vineyard can be a rewarding step into a growing, healthy market: one which can bring financial and emotional rewards.

Buying and owning a vineyard is rewarding, but one needs to remember that this business is agriculture. Agriculture results can be risky. Your harvest and profits depends on many factors such as weather, pests, fungi diseases, and many more. Good luck!

We have years of experience designing, installing and managing vineyards in Santa Barbara County.  Contact us with any questions and we’ll be happy to help you.

Santa Barbara Landscaping Contractor Offers Expert Vineyard Installation and Management Services

Vineyard Management Services

Vineyard Management Services

Santa Barbara, CA, January 30, 2013 — Industry leading Santa Barbara landscaping contractor Down to Earth Landscapes Inc. has announced they are now offering new services to local area vineyards. The company’s new vineyard installation and maintenance solutions are directed by their on-staff viticulturist, who will ensure that clients have an expert organizing their entire vineyard development and maintenance process.

The team at the Santa Barbara landscaping contractor, Down to Earth Landscapes Inc., offers vineyard owners a full range of services. The first element within this process will involve the company’s in-house viticulturist helping clients to select the wine grape variety that will work best for their unique planting needs. Once the requisite wine grape has been chosen, they will then work with the client to install and then plant the product within their vineyard. Because of the experience of the company’s staff, they can offer tips to ensure optimal growth within a broad range of environments.
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Pruning Your Garden in Santa Barbara

pruning rose brushes in Santa Barbara

Pruning Your Garden’s  Roses, Fruit Trees and Grape Vines

After 30 year of providing  landscape design and maintainance services for hundreds of properties in Santa Barbara County, the most common question about pruning is “When is the best time to prune rose bushes, fruit trees and grapevines?”

The answer to this question is that it all depends on your area or location and its microclimate. The biggest mistake people make regarding pruning is that they often do it too soon. This can be disastrous. A lot of uneducated gardeners prune roses and stone fruits as soon as early December. This is a serious mistake in Santa Barbara County. Let’s get started with rose pruning.

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