It is that time of year. We left our Petite Manseng unpruned, but we are working on it now. Those vines are our newest, and presumably, weakest vines, so we wanted to wait until the last minute to prune in hopes of delaying bud break and vine weeping. Last year, we had a fair amount of freeze damage in the Petite Manseng because of a very late cold snap. Fingers crossed that we avoid repeating 2014 in 2015.
The picture above shows what the vineyard looked like on 11 April 2012. You can see a good bit of greenery showing. It was such a warm winter and spring that bud break came early. And then, on 13 April 2012, we had our regular late season frost. It did a good bit of damage, but interestingly, we still had a very solid year of production.
Three weeks ago, we bottled our 2013 Barbera and 2013 Montepulciano. They will be called Five Twenty-Nine and Red Dress, respectively. This evening, I pulled juice to blend together for our next version of Smokehouse Red. I am really excited about it, and I hope we will have it bottled before the end of April. We have ~125 gallons of 2010 Sangiovese still in barrel. In previous tastings, I was afraid I had left it in barrel too long, but recent tastings have shown that thought was premature. It is showing really nicely, and I think it will be a wonderful contributor to the new Smokehouse Red.
On Saturday 18 April, we will be adding another half acre of Petite Manseng. When that planting is complete, we will have more-or-less two acres of Petite Manseng. It will be our largest area of a variety. This assumes we can get all of the planting holes augered in time. As of tonight, we have not drilled the first planting hole! We really need a couple of dry days to get that work done.