The last 2 blogs I have written covered the exciting development of expanding 120 acres of land into vineyards for potential new owners. The process of turning untouched ground into the splendor of a vineyard requires a knowledgeable and hands-on approach. Chief Agronomist, Francisco Evangelista, says there are 3 steps to developing land, “First we clear and level the land, next we plow rows and erect trellis systems and lastly we install irrigation and plant the vines.” This blog covers that crucial last step.
After the trellis systems have been put in place, Francisco, lays the plans for irrigation. A backhoe digs ditches perpendicular to all of the rows for the pipes. Hoses run off from the pipes under the rows where the vines will be planted. Francisco said they are using over 180 miles of hoses for the expansion. All of the hoses are bought with holes pre-cut in them. The holes are a little under 2 feet apart and need to line up with a vine. When the hoses are flowing they allow 13 drops of water every 10 seconds. Every plant gets 4 liters of water per day.
Planting the vines is the last and arguably the most important part of a vineyard. All of the vines need to soak in a large bin for 24 hours to remove pathogens. The ground they will be planted in is also watered for one full day. As workers plant each vine they push on the graft to ensure its strength. If a graft is not strong the vine is replaced. The vines are planted between 10 and 14 inches deep.
There is an average of 2,400 vines per acre of land. One person can plant about 200 vines a day. The roots start to grow one month after being planted. That movement underground is matched by the sight of the vines’ first leaves above ground. Over the course of 2 years the vines grow grapes, are harvested and eventually produce the ultimate reward of delicious wine, which is truly the best result of vineyard expansion.