Linden Update | May 2017
Mother Nature has been a bit of a Wild Woman
Mother Nature has been a bit of a wild woman. The vines shrugged off February temperatures in the 80°’s, teens in March and patchy frost in May. Our resilient vines have survived. My fears of cold damage were unfounded. They look great with even more clusters than usual. Vine development is a good ten days ahead of normal for this time of year with flowering expected to start as early as next week. The typical start of flowering is early June.
I’ve written much about the long-term aspects of vineyard establishment decisions (more on Linden’s Terroir Project below). Now we are about to enter our busiest time in the established vineyards. Our vineyard decisions and work over the next six weeks will be critical to ensure that we harvest the best grapes the vintage can produce. What the heck are we doing all day you might ask?
We just finished our first pass of shoot thinning. The vines will sprout many more shoots than is desirable for a balanced and uniform crop. Once these shoots are about six inches long we remove the undesirable shoots. These shoots are fragile, so we can do this using our fingers to gently pluck off the tender growth. On a typical vine we may remove about half the shoots, leaving about eight to twelve. These will give us more than enough yield. This is one of our favorite jobs as it is always pleasant weather and there is a sense of satisfaction as we prune using only our fingers.
Over the next six weeks we will be removing leaves from around the developing clusters for better air flow and sunlight penetration, tying quickly elongating shoots to the trellis wires, hedging off excessive growth (especially in a wet season), and removing grape clusters if we deem there to be too many. This is all done by hand and the timing is critical. After the Fourth of July any benefits from our efforts begin to diminish. Fortunately there are more than 14 daylight hours each day this time of year!
It may look like a disheveled meadow right now, but our soon to be 2018 vineyard is sprouting abundant cover crops, wild flowers and grasses. Over the past few months we have limed, tilled, marked off locations of future rows and sowed lots of seed. During the next few months there will be a slow metamorphosis from natural randomness to human sculpting.
Just as we tend to eat seasonally, our choice of wines follow suit. This spring and summer Linden’s focus is on “snappy”, refreshing wines ranging from Rosé, Riesling Vidal, to crisp Chardonnays and a bright Claret. Good wines for the beach!
Ashby Inn Wine Dinner
Linden will be at the Ashby Inn on the evening of Thursday, July 13. We will have more details in our June newsletter, but you may want to save the date. Reservations can be made directly with the Inn.