Monday, May 23, 2016

Dear Ben Hartman and Hans Walter Peterson, 

Thank you for coordinating volunteer pruners and sending emails seeking pruning on Tom Mitchell’s vineyard on Hyatt Hill, near Wayne. 

Ben took time out of his busy days at Deep Root Vineyard and Winery to prune at our vineyard along with Ian Barry from Barry Winery, and Bill and Suzanne Piat from Arkport, and Bill Hoagland from Penn Yan, who has pruned with Tom in the past in our vineyard.  Hans was sending out emails and another weekend we saw Keith Egresi from across the lake with 100 acres of his own put in some time pruning our vines along with Steve Learch (Geneva Experiment Station), Hans Walter Peterson, Gillian Trimber (Coop Ext) and Peter Frisch, winemaker and friend from Sidney, NY, and Bill Hoagland, Donna and Lou Gridley, Scott and Cindy Daum, Lou Ann from Watkins Glen, Mel Goldman from Keuka Vineyards and his vineyard manager, John Orsino.

On April 1, we had a crowd of about 30 pruners.  They started in the Riesling that Tom has on a trellis system he called Keuka Delta.  It is a low wire cordon with annual renewal if available.  Catch wires are supported by a triangular form on the post with the widest part at the bottom near the support wire. If the only good cane is the apical dominate cane, we leave that and tie it back toward the center of the plant on the lower catch wire.  In some years it can look like spur or cane pruning or an accident.  Paul Brock brought his students from the Ag course at CCC.  It must have been a challenge for them all.  Greg Taylor from Paul’s class asked his mother (Bully Hill) to provide lunch for all.  That was really appreciated!  Thank you!  Other pruners coming along that day were Mark Wiltberger, Lindsay Wickham, Hans Walter Petersons, Peter Frisch, Steve Learch, and Gilliam Trimber and there may have been more.  I started a list and gave up.  I know most of you but not all.  If you are not named here, I thank you also.

Your efforts have been greatly appreciate by me and my family.  Thank you all.

Here is an update for your information.  I had Matt Doyle’s crew prune the vineyards we have on Dutch St and they finished below the barn on Hyatt Hill.  The vinifera above the barn are being pruned by our man Joe Johnston who has been working for us for several years.  He has been hand pruning with Tom during the years we converted umbrella systems to high wire cordon.  This took several seasons.  The Chardonnay are a modified umbrella this year due to short canes.  He has tightened wires on both farms and he and my son, Tom, have been replacing end post and pounding post.  (And not in that order, but as permitted!)  Our son Tom is the Hammondsport Music teacher K-12 as well as a scout master.   

When it was too cold to tie (skipping rows that needed post work) Joe pruned and is still pruning.  Today April 28, he will switch to post pounding with Tom. 

It is not April anymore and time is flying.  Umbrella tying is almost finished, buds are pushing.  We are holding off on pruning the Pinot Noir and the Gamay Noir until we see green.  The cane length from last year’s growth is very short.  May 23, buds are out in Pinot, Gamay and Riesling with a nice set push.  Will need to prune the Pinot and Gamay and of course, the next challenge is the spray program. 

I have decided to run the juice plant this year, especially after an offer from Mayer’s Cider Mill to send his man down to help us mere mortals learn to run the press.  I know if I ask others in the area, I can get help.  We are all assuming there will be a grape crop this year in spite of this squirrelly spring, which cannot decide which way to go.  All of us can remember weather disasters in May and June!  God is here to give us strength to carry on and Mother Nature is still defying description. 

Thank you again for all your help! 

Marcy Mitchell and family, Tom, Megan and Corlin  (May 23, 2016!!)


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