formed in mountain grapes are softer, producing more drinkable
wines. Vines grown in thin (3 to 6 feet depth) mountain soils
produce soft tannins and small berries for more intense flavors
and color. The goal is to produce balanced vines which grow
sufficient leaves and canes to support an adequate crop load.
The target crop load is 3 tons per acre which can be attained
through proper pruning, cluster thinning, trellising and soil
high elevations of mountain vineyards lower both the daytime
peak temperatures and also the night-time temperatures; the
acid and sugar levels in the grapes is kept to an ideal level.
Cabernet Sauvignon vines are planted in 8 foot wide rows running
up and down the hillside. The vines are 5 feet apart. The
Merlot vines are planted on terraces that are 10 feet wide.
Those vines are planted 4 feet apart, as the soil has lower
fertility. The Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc are also planted
on terraces but are 5 feet apart. The rootstock on most of
the vines is 110R but 101-14 is used in some of the more moderate
fertility blocks. The Cabernet Sauvignon clones are 191 and
and organic (non-certified) viticulture practices are used
to nourish the soil and produce balanced vines. Before the
vineyard was planted, extensive soil tests were conducted
to examine the nature of the soil. Test pits showed soil depths
of 3 to 6 feet, over fractured sandstone so the drainage is
good, with low to moderate fertility red loam soil. It was
found that sufficient levels of naturally occurring nitrogen
and potassium exist in the soil, but levels of phosphorus
are low. Small amounts of rock phosphorus and wood ashes are
applied to each vine by hand. The rock phosphorus and ashes
slowly dissolve with the winter rains providing a slow but
steady source of phosphorus to the vines.
is added by hand to the soil to provide additional minerals,
organic material and beneficial bacteria. The bacteria and
other microorganisms break down the naturally occurring minerals
in the soil and make them available to the vines. Green manure
in the form of clover is grown in the rows. In the spring,
the clover is mowed and as the cut clover decays, it slowly
provides nitrogen to the vines.
pest control, there has been no spraying for insects at all
since the vineyard was planted. The beneficial insects, such
as spiders and lady bugs, do a terrific job at keeping the
non-beneficial insects, such as leafhoppers and aphids, at
bay. In addition, Western Bluebirds, and wild turkey visit
the vineyard help to keep the insect population down.
no-till viticulture practices, cover crops are grown in the
rows between the vines to hold the soil in place on the slopes.
Annuals such as barley, annual ryegrass, mustard and clovers
have been planted. During the winter, the annuals die and
add three thousand pounds of humus per acre per year, which
eventually turns to compost.