Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Standard Appearance vs. Personality

The severe pruning I gave our two Kay Gray vines and single Canadice vine, last winter, seems to have had its effect; for the new shoots coming up have flower-cluster buds upon them.

While the clusters seem less thick then they are on the other varieties, that they are there at all is a pleasant fact to contemplate. For these three, last year was in essence an extra one for encouraging vine development without obtaining fruit.

In the unseasonable heat, yesterday afternoon, I worked on shoring up wire supports for this trio. My system is the four-arm kniffin system -- more or less. I need actually to add height to the entire set-up, to be following this model correctly.

Earlier in the season, after seeing a vineyard employing the Geneva double-curtain method of growing, I considered reshaping my entire system of wire-supports.

The idea that had prevailed in our first seasons of growing, however, was that we would need to mulch all the vines each winter. Their trunks, as a consequence, have personality. Rather than shooting up straight and perpendicular to the ground, in the manner of your typical well-controlled vineyard vine, these trunks twist a bit, turn a bit -- for they start from the ground at an angle and then bend back toward the vertical in the course of reaching the wires.

The option remains open to re-grow these vines from vertical shoots rising from near the base of the vine. What do I want, though: standard appearance, or personality? Certainly the venerable wild grapes you see ranging up into the trees, in woods in this area, have curvings and bends in their trunks, They trail along the forest floor, or even loop back down to the ground from some high branch before rising back into the forest canopy. Appealing to the eye? Yes, indeed.

It is a vine, after all, not a tree ... although the normal aim in grape culture seems to be the achievement of a treelike appearance. The idea appeals to me, of letting these twisty vines grow thick and gnarly over the years ... yet so does the idea of regrowing them, so that I might set up a better trellis system for coming seasons.

Cheers ...

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