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Vineyard Recovery After the Storm

by Jay DeWitt, Managing Partner and Vigneron

Several of you have asked about how the vineyard is recovering since it was decimated by the hailstorm in early August. The plants go through physiological changes as the season progresses. During the first stage, carbohydrates stored in the roots are transported to the expanding leaves. Once there is enough new leaf surface, the carbohydrates manufactured by the new leaves are used to grow more leaves and stems, expand the berries, replenish the roots, and feed the buds that will produce the next year’s crop. At veraison the carbohydrate flow shifts to the ripening of the berries.

The storm occurred during the veraison stage. The plants had severely damaged leaves and clusters. It was clear that the clusters had no value for winemaking, but their presence would nonetheless continue to absorb all the carbohydrates the damaged leaves produced. We decided to drop the damaged clusters to the ground in hopes that the plants would turn their focus into repairing the damage and strengthening the plants for next year. We also gave the plants a thorough watering to support new growth.

The strategy worked as planned, the damaged plants grew some new leaves which will help with next year’s crop. The pictures on this page show the plants with a mix of new and old leaves. The new leaves are lighter in color. We are confident the plants will be able to support a normal crop next year.