Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Where is the vineyard?

All of the Virginia grape growers that I have spoken with lately are very glad that the words “Polar Vortex” have not been used in our weather forecast so far this winter. The danger point for many vines planted in the area is zero Fahrenheit. Last year we had -7F on our farm while folks in New York and Ohio had some -20s. These low temperatures will not only kill off bud that would have been fruitful for the year ahead, but also can kill off the vines.

We put new vines in the ground last spring and they grew quite well for the season. To protect them from a potentially harsh winter, we covered the graft union with mulch. This hopefully will keep that point a few degrees warmer than the air keeping some buds alive to regrow the vine in the spring. If there is no killing cold, we can grow out the vine from the 2-3 feet of wood that grew last year and we did not need the mulch blanket.

Currently with our older vines, we are pruning off all of the dead wood and long branches that we had left on the vine last year. Because there was such dieback and lack of fruit, we let the vines grow rather free form giving us as much fruit as was available. We also decided not to cut back the dead wood until now because we were so busy during the growing season tending to what was alive. The dead wood does not spread diseases right away in the vineyard but it can harbor diseases over the years. We are hoping that this rebuilding process of vines will be completed in 2 years. We cannot just add on buds and branches, they need to be grown.

Little sayings can mean a lot
With social media as integrated in our society as it is today, the prolific number of quotes, sayings and words of wisdom being passed around can be overwhelming. Sayings like “minds are like parachutes, they only work if they are open” are thoughtful, opinionated but also rather hard to argue with. I remember years ago the Lipton teabags had a saying on the tab. I used to drink tea just to get more of the sayings. As I have posted in the past, I have come up with a few of my own to help myself and the younger folks I teach to understand some important points.

“If you are working for me, your job is to make me money.” As cold and heartless this is, it is a fundamental level of work ethic that is not taught in school. Many early employment situations have not made this point very clear either. My advantage is that as a small business, a staff member can basically see all aspects of the business in a small area and timeframe. Learning where the value is and how ones job can make money is an easier job in a small business than working for a large corporation or government entity. Helping this next generation understand how to make the most of their labor contributions is important to our business, their next employer, and I think, the whole society. I certainly will help the employee with their career and hopefully income.

Written by: Doug Fabbioli

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