The end of harvest does not mean the end of work on Gantz Family Vineyards. There are many tasks to put our Russian River Valley vineyard to bed and get it ready for its reawakening the next season.
Task #1: Take down the bird netting
This was the first year we used bird netting, and it was successful in preventing the bird problems we had last year. Well, now it all has to come down. We shove it to the middle of the vines, and then special equipment is used to roll it onto a core like the tubes that hold bathroom tissue. The netting is stored away from the elements for use next year.
Task #2: Check the irrigation lines
We walk the rows -- all 109 of them -- to review the irrigation lines and make any necessary repairs before we open the lines to make sure they are cleaned out and dry for winter.
Task #3: Seed the cover crop
We put down seed for a cover crop between the rows and other areas with bare soil, and we cover the seed with hay to keep the bird theft minimized. A cover crop keeps the soil from eroding and breaks up the raindrops (when and if we get any) to prevent hardpanning, which makes the soil resistant to drainage and root growth. A well-chosen cover crop also adds nutrients when it is tilled into the soil.
Task #4: Manage the gophers
Gopher "management" here on Gantz Family Vineyards is a never-ending task. They breed in the spring and the fall, and it's pretty obvious they've been partying down recently. If you'd like to learn more about catching gophers, check out our video:
Task #5: Prep equipment for next season
During the cold and (hopefully) rainy winter, we straighten up the barn and get the tools and equipment cleaned and sharpened for next year.
And those are just the vineyard-specific tasks. This Sunday, we'll be harvesting our olives and taking them to the Community Milling Day at Trattore Farms. Soon after, we'll be harvesting our Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons, which might be making an appearance at a local restaurant. We'll be sure to tell you about that in the next couple of weeks.