As many of you know, we have been trying to get away from the use of herbicides and pesticides in the vineyard.  Herbicides are used primarily to kill weeds, and pesticides of course, kill invasive bugs.  For the past three seasons we have removed weeds by hand hoeing.  Ridding the vineyard of invasive bugs is another story.  This year we introduced the green lacewing, a bug which will eat the voracious and damaging leaf-hopper.  The photo shows Susan in the vineyard releasing thousands of these bugs as well as their larvae.  Within a few days it was evident that the “bug eat bug” solution was working.  This year we are herbicide and pesticide free.  As you know we now generate over two-thirds of the electrical energy needed for our well pump and the refrigeration systems in our winery and tasting room with a 12.5 KW solar system.  Although we are on a drip irrigation system that we monitor for leaks or other water-wasting problems each time we irrigate; and we have moisture sensors in the vineyard to insure that we neither over-water or under-water, we are still working on water conservation.

The photo above was taken in early July and looks east over our vineyard.  You can see the newly planted Malbec vines in the foreground, each safely encircled by a plastic “grow tube” to protect the young vines from hungry bunnies and other creatures who may be thinking about a leafy salad for dinner.   We planted approximately 450 baby Malbec vines and 900 baby Grenache vines this year and look forward to harvesting fruit from them in 2018.  We planted the additional vines to insure that we would have a source of Malbec and Grenache fruit for our wines in the future.  Also notice in the photo the different shades of green in the vineyard.  Each varietal has its own distinct coloring, making it easy to tell which rows mark the beginning and end of each varietal.

Everyone knows I have been lobbying Susan for a motorcycle for almost our entire marriage.  Recently I thought she had relented.  My birthday is coming up in September and she told me she had been looking at a brand new two-wheeled, cherry red machine that would be exclusively mine.  Although she was not interested in riding on it, she said she had done considerable research before choosing it and it was a tough machine designed to hold the road under all conditions; but still it was stylish and would be the envy of my neighbors.   She was right.  My new compost spreader is the talk of the neighborhood.   

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