The pressure bomb is one of the tools I'm using to develop a more complete understanding of how our vineyard responds to water stress and irrigations. Our foliage was abundant last year, and this year we're seeking a better balance between our fruit and leaves. Monitoring the water is a good way to do that.
Spring is here, and Mother Nature is gifting us with her bounty: Our artichokes, strawberries and blueberries are all making an appearance. Unfortunately, so are the gophers. Mother Nature does not discriminate.
As well as being the bookkeeper, gardener and co-owner of Gantz Family Vineyards, Celeste Gantz has taken on the job of being the vineyard's gopher hunter. Here -- with help from her trusty sidekick, Jake -- she gives hints on how to identify, trap and dispose of the little buggers.
Hedging is one of several canopy management practices we employ during the growing season, and it is just what it sounds like—you go through and prune the vines to eliminate excess vegetative growth from the top and sides in order to make a uniform canopy that looks like a hedge.
The task of controlling the weeds on the non-vineyard property has come to me. I attack about 1.5 acres with a weed eater, whacking away weeds along the fence lines, trees (not too close!), around the house and barns. Then there’s hands-and-knees work, pulling weeds around the roses, blueberries and newly planted fruit trees.
Spading is the oldest and most inefficient form of tillage – which includes plowing or disking – because spading was done by hand with a shovel. Now you can buy a machine to mimic the actions of hand digging. Spading is the preferred method of tillage when growing fine winegrapes.
I think we Californians have a fundamental misconception about our immigrant agricultural workforce. We tend to think that farmworkers are low-skilled laborers doing a job that anyone could do, and, yes, there is plenty of hard, backbreaking work involved in farming. However, my experience is that a lot of skill and experience is necessary to do many of the jobs well, and when you insist on perfection, every job has to be done well. Not anyone can do it.
I love to work on the tractor.
I've been making wine out of my garage for 7-plus years now. I'm wondering, before you got into the actual winery/ranch, what did you do about licensing for making and selling your wine? I wanted to go to the next stage in this endeavor, but I have no idea where to start and was hoping you had some insight!
Even in the winter, there is little downtime in the vineyard. Between fighting gophers, mowing, hoeing and pulling weeds, we don’t seem to have the slow-paced farming life we’ve heard so much about.