We’re about 10 weeks into the growing season, and Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyard manager for Bedell Cellars, says growth is about two weeks behind last year due to the cold spring. Then came a heat wave and then the hit-and-run thunderstorms.
Today is a beautiful day, humidity is down and Donna and the crew are out hedging the vines and using a mechanical leaf puller.
Vigor is a problem on the North Fork, so vines are trimmed throughout the growing season. Today Donna was using an old tractor with six-inch blades to trim the tops and the sides. Vineyard manager Dave Thompson was driving the harvester with the leaf pulling attachment. The mechanical leaf puller is used for the reds, because the crew will go through the rows again when they thin the crop and remove all the leaves up to five to sixth inches from the clusters. The fruit zone for the whites are always cleared by hand, said Donna. That will start this weekend.