Before we think too much about what lies ahead, let me tell you about the past couple of weeks. We have been b.u.s.y. I mean, exhausted seems to be a permanent state around here right now!

On 20 April, we planted 600 vines. Doug, Tony and Eddie had gotten the ~0.5 acre addition prepped, marked, holes augered, and had the field just waiting for planting. We had a long day of planting – there were only 14 of us out there, whereas in past years we have had 25-30 pairs of hands on planting day. We can’t say thank you enough to the people who helped with planting, so let me say an inadequate ‘Thank you’ to: Sharon, Alicia, Christy, Kristin, Dianne, Maleada, Laura, Dan, Tommy, Mark, Tony, Doug, Eddie, and Jerry. We have a wonderful support system of friends and family to help make the hard tasks happen.

Out of that group of people, Sharon, Maleada, Mark, Jerry and Eddie have helped EVERY year since 2010, and Dianne, Laura, and Tommy only missed 2011. Thank you for coming back year after year. The gift of your time and talents is appreciated.

Over the next week, our good friend, neighbor [and landscape designer!] Kevin Reeves of Reeves Landscaping in Leicester NC, finished installing the landscaping around the tasting room. He and his family worked diligently sowing grass, planting some very healthy flora, installing landscape fabric and edging, and placing river rock in the planter beds. I will get a picture of the landscaping posted in the next week or two, but we wanted to say thank you to Kevin for adding a great looking landscape around the Addison Farms Vineyard tasting room.

On Sat 27 April, we had our first Bud Break Bash. The weather was rotten… it rained and rained and rained. According to the weather station at AVL, we received 1.95″ of rain on Saturday. At least it was not storming, right? The music from Chris Gubitose and Blue Wheel Drive was awesome, the tacos and burritos from our friends at El Limon were incredible. We want to thank the folks that braved the weather and joined us Saturday; we hope you had a good time. We are already thinking about next year’s Bash! Here again, we have to thank the many people who helped: Laura, Alicia, Kristin, Maleada, Dianne, Tommy, Doug, and Eddie.

Now, about those ‘busy days ahead’ I mentioned in the title. The vines are really getting green. Our latest variety for bud break is the Montepulciano, and it is just about to get going in earnest. Our earliest budding varieties, Sangiovese and Petit Manseng, have shoots in the 1-2″ range, with a random few even longer. We will soon be going through and doing our first shoot-thinning exercise. When we winter prune, we leave 2 buds per spur. We do that to give the vines a redundancy in the system, so that if one bud fails to break or we have frost damage early, we still have a shot at having a fruitful bud. But that decision means we always have to go back and prune away at least one of the shoots if everything survives, as it will in most years. When we start pruning and shoot-thinning, it becomes an almost perpetual state of pruning all the way through harvest.

Grapevines have their own built-in redundancy too. Each bud is actually three buds: a primary, secondary, and tertiary. If the primary bud is damaged, the secondary bud will grow. It is sometimes fruitful, sometimes not, and the likelihood of a fruitful secondary is related to many things, including variety. The tertiary bud will grow if the secondary is damaged, but it is never fruitful. It simply allows the vine to survive to produce another year. And that is what we all hope to do isn’t it? Here is to being productive!