Wine Tree Farm -- aerial view of the Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.
Wine Tree Farm — aerial view of the Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.

The vineyard is divided into four sections of Rhône varietals. At the top are our Syrah Clone 01 grapes, with the Mourvedre (clone 04) grapes, then another section of Syrah, this time Clone 877  and at the bottom are our Grenache (noir) grapes.

The vines were planted in 2002, and are on 1103p rootstock. We use a modified VSP (vertical Shoot Positioning) with the vines being trained under 2 sets of wires. The lowest set – about 1.5 feet above the fruiting cordon – are 12 inches apart, and the upper set – about 4 feet above the cordon are 18 inches apart. This gives some amount of shading to the ripening fruit.

We have 2 wells that we use to drip irrigate the vines.

As you drive up to the winery you’ll pass the vineyard which produces the grapes from which our wines are made.

 

The Syrah vine is a vigorous gangly plant with long shoots that grow very tall and need a lot of care to tuck them under the wires. The berry bunches are loose, so we have never had any rot (knock on wood!) as the air can flow fairly easily through the bunches.

We normally pick Syrah around Labor day.

Syrah veraison
Syrah starting to veraise (change color and build up sugar)
Mourvèdre at Berry Set
Mourvèdre at Berry Set
The Mourvedre vine is not very vigorous and grows straight up! Because of this, we do not need to spend a lot of time tucking the vines under the wires. From a distance this section of the vineyard is very obvious as it looks much more thinned out and spindly.

The main issue with Mourvedre is that it is a late ripening grape and we are always holding our breath near the end of October hoping that we can pick the grapes before the rain and cold weather are upon us! The grape bunch is similar to Syrah in that it is more loosely bunched, again not giving us any issues with rot.

The Grenache vine is vigorous but stocky – the shoots are shorter than the Syrah, but thicker.

The leaves on Grenache are smooth on the back sides, (Syrah and Mourvedre have a silky back side of the leaf.) Grenache bunches are bigger, heavier and much more tightly bunched.

Grenache is also the first to bud out, so we have had frost issues in some years. It is also susceptible to powdery mildew, so we do have to manage that issue early in the season. We pick Grenache in mid October.

Grenache Grapes at Berry Set
Grenache at Berry Set (Note the shiny back side of the leaf.)

By the way!  

We also sell grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre), to wineries and home wine makers.

Call us at 209-783-5049 for details and pricing.