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Recent news, stories from the winemaker, happenings around the winery, recipes and more!

 

 

 

 

 

Janis Akuna
 
June 12, 2021 | Janis Akuna

Owl Boxes

When visiting Andis Wines, do you notice the white boxes sitting on poles positioned throughout the vineyards? Part of our sustainability program involves using birds of prey to control the rodent population. As you walk through the vineyards, you will notice small holes in the ground, typically caused by gophers and voles. Voles will eat roots and bark and can be harmful to grape vines, and controlling their populating is critical as a pair can produce 100 baby voles in a year. As you view the Andis Estate Vineyard, you will see owl boxes, those white boxes perched on tall poles. Owls will find these boxes, create a nest, usually in winter and early spring, and have their young. All four boxes on the property have been used. A family of owls can hunt as much as 3000 voles a year. By May, the baby owls are gone, and the boxes remain empty until the following year. Eating so many voles, gophers, and even rabbits create quite a mess with bones stacking up, so we must clean the boxes out after harvest in preparation for the next season.

Janis Akuna, Vintner

Time Posted: Jun 12, 2021 at 11:35 AM Permalink to Owl Boxes Permalink
Janis Akuna
 
May 20, 2021 | Janis Akuna

The Vines are in Bloom

Grapevine flowering arrives in late spring, two months or so after bud break. Grapevine flowers are not the most dramatic or beautiful, but they do have a wonderful fragrance. Grape flowers need average daily temperatures between 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is during this stage of a grape’s lifecycle that pollination and fertilization occur. For fertilization to occur, grape flowers do not need bees for pollination. Grapevines have what is called a perfect flower, meaning they are self-pollinating flowers.

There is a window when the flowers are in full bloom. It is at this point that they are extremely vulnerable. Any adverse climatic condition can mean losing the potential crop. Rain, wind or cold temperatures can result in shatter. The term shatter means the cluster grows without the ideal tight shape, resulting in grape berries differing in size or even missing all together. While this variation does not affect the quality of the grapes, it definitely affects their quantity.

Fruit set follows bloom immediately. Fruit set is defined as the time when fertilized flowers develop into a grape. Once the fruit set is done, we start to get a good idea of our crop for the season. Right now, we are looking good.

Time Posted: May 20, 2021 at 6:16 PM Permalink to The Vines are in Bloom Permalink
Janis Akuna
 
March 21, 2021 | Janis Akuna

Mustard in the Vineyards

Mustard Plants

It must be Spring! Just look at the bright yellow fields full of mustard blooms in the vineyard. While the weather may still seem winter-like, Mother Nature is telling us otherwise.

The Andis Vineyards have never looked so beautiful with the ground cover throughout. As mentioned in my previous blog, ground cover or cover crops can be beneficial in replacing nutrients. But what about mustard plants? While mustard plants do not return vine nutrients back to the soil, they do provide biofumigation, which suppresses various soil pathogens.

Typically mustard plants are used in vineyards to suppress nematodes, a microscopic worm that infects vine roots. Nematode infection will ultimately lead to low grape production and severe vine damage. Mustard plants produce a biofumigant called glucosinolate that deters damaging nematodes.

Later in Spring, the cover crops are turned giving beneficial mulch to the soils.

So come visit us at Andis Wines and enjoy the beautiful view of our yellow vineyards while you can!

Janis

Watch a short video of our wine maker, Mark Fowler discuss cover crops in the vineyard - COVER CROP VIDEO

Time Posted: Mar 21, 2021 at 10:21 AM Permalink to Mustard in the Vineyards Permalink
Janis Akuna
 
March 11, 2021 | Janis Akuna

Cover Crops in the Vineyard


As wine consumers, if we at all think about how the wine was made, we may think of grapes and grapevines and may even think of the farming aspect of growing grapes. While we mostly talk about the wine in our mouths, we should really give some thought to the farming.



Spring is barely here, yet we see growth in the vineyards. Not grapevine growth yet, but rather cover crops. Why do we need cover crops?

As children, we all heard of rotation farming. Some vegetations will add nutrients to the soil, some vegetations will take nutrients away. We can't rotate grape vines every year, which take nutrients away, but we can put in cover crops to add nutrients. What you see in the photo above are peas growing in between rows of our old Zinfandel vines. These peas will add nitrogen to the soils. It's a natural way to provide fertilizer to the vineyard. So now when you are having that wonderful glass of Andis Old Vine Zinfandel, you can be reassured that we have been sustainable in our farming methods. Enjoy!
 

Watch a short video of our wine maker, Mark Fowler discuss cover crops in the vineyard - COVER CROP VIDEO

Time Posted: Mar 11, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Cover Crops in the Vineyard Permalink
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