Now that veraison is well underway, we are patiently waiting for Harvest. We are estimating to begin Harvesting our grapes in two weeks. In those two weeks we are looking for the brix number (sugar content) and the pH in the grapes to increase. It's important to ensure that our grapes are at peak quality before picking them!
We anticipate to harvest the grapes in this order...
Petit Verdot (This will be harvest around the first frost!
Prevention against Birds
As the grapes get sweeter, there is an increase in migrant birds that feed on them. Most recently, the starling population has increased, and we have had to take preventative measures so they don’t eat all the fruits of our labor. Typically, the first line of defense of migratory birds is placing netting around the grape vines. This typically will keep the birds out but if they still manage to sneak in for a snack, we will utilize a bird caller or canon. The bird called will mimic the sounds of a hawk and work to scare away the predatory birds. In much the same way, the canon will make a loud noise with the intention of scaring the birds away.
The Dreaded Spotted Lantern Fly
Like all farms, vineyards, and even backyard gardeners, we have been forced to manage an unruly population of spotted lantern flies. The spotted lantern fly can be deadly for a vineyard. It bores a whole into the vine and drinks the sap. Without proper management this can devastate a vineyard.
Through multiple techniques, we have been very successful at keeping their numbers to a minimum. Starting in early spring, our vineyard team was able to keep their population confined to a few Lantus trees and treat them directly on those trees before they attacked the vines. We have also been using a systemic spray that has been approved by Penn State for treatment of vines. Those two methods, combined with the classic technique of squashing them on the ground, have proved to be working! In the winter, during hand pruning, the vineyard team will also manually remove any eggs that may have been laid.