Cook Vineyard Weekly Newsletter 5.7.12
At the beginning of the year we create a farming plan based on the needs of the vineyard to produce the highest quality of grapes. Our plan is based on soil types, varieties, rootstocks and many other factors and may be modified throughout the growing season due to weather and growth cycles. So far this year we have not deviated from most of the farming plans due to the great season so far.
So why do we disk (till) some vineyards and not others? This question has a lot of moving parts, but we base our decisions on these factors.
All dry farmed vineyards get disked. This allows the vines not to compete with the cover crop or native grasses for the moisture in the ground left by the winter rains. It is also a common practice to plant a cover crop during the fall and incorporate it in the soil in the spring to give nutrients to the vines (somewhat like composting). Many unhealthy vineyards also get disked to help aerate the top soil level in the root zone of the vine. Vineyards with highly erodible soils, rocky soils or on hillsides normally do not get disked. Disking can also cause compaction of the soil in some circumstances.
One approach we perform a lot to get the best of both worlds is to disk every other row. It has many benefits and we rotate the disking pattern every other year so each row gets disked once every two years. The benefits are the vines roots get aerated on one side, there is less compaction, the workers have level ground to perform viticulture tasks and holes created by rodents like gophers get covered (Safety First).
So the next time you see a vineyard half disked you will know why.
If you would like to know more about viticulture please call us at 707.490.8921 or visit our website at www.cvmgrapes.com