For those of you who do have fruit this year and are looking forward to a harvest, you should be considering protecting your fruit from loss to birds. The birds naturally know to start eating the fruit by the change in color. And, since many of you are already seeing some berries and/or clusters starting to change color, you may wish to employ your protection sooner than later.
As vineyard owners (and managers), we have been having another wild ride through a challenging growth year. Early bud break, a relatively cool spring, a lot of cloudy days, and some occasional rain have all added up to ongoing war with Powdery Mildew. I tip my hat to those of you who were proactive with treating your vines early and continuing to spray on a frequent and regular schedule.
The grapevine has a primary trunk that is trained up a treated grapestake, then an "arm" (cordon) from the trunk is laterally trained along a wire system extending a few feet from each side of the trunk. The two arms develop shoots that are eventually trained up to a higher wire system where the fruit will form and "hang" until they ripen and are harvested in the fall. After harvest and once the vines go dormant in the winter, the shoots are pruned back to form "spurs" on the arms in preparation for new growth in the spring.
Cucamonga is located in San Bernardino County, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles. The storied Cucamonga Valley (aka. Cucamonga-Guasti Wine District) – where vineyard planting began in 1838 – has lost most of its once vast vineyard acreage to industrial development and the urban expansion of nearby Los Angeles and Orange Counties. When Prohibition hit in 1920, grapevine acres in Cucamonga numbered twice as many as Napa/Sonoma Counties combined. In the 1940s, this east/west oriented valley region hosted 60 wineries and over 35,000 acres of vine, as its thick-skinned grapes with high natural sugar levels proved ideal for the needs of east coast home winemakers.