St. Luke’s Little Summer

From John, November 12th, 2013

2013 will undoubtedly go down as one of the more bizarre harvest seasons in Oregon wine history.  September was mostly reminiscent of late Fall weather (in a decidedly rainy year!) then October crept in with perfect Springtime weather.In England, these warm golden days of October are referred to as St. Luke’s Little summer in honor of the Saint’s Feast day.

A good farmer tries to remain undaunted by whatever is thrown at him (her).  In that vein, when the miserable harvest weather turned into golden October, we decided to do what we normally do in the Spring: cultivate and plant!  In our possession were nearly 1000 young vines which we had grafted and rooted in March/April of this year and then nursed through the summer growing season.

On the east side of our property is plot of land which had previously been a hazelnut orchard.  The orchard had been cleared 2 years ago and planted with various cover crops to re-nourish the soil: first was clover to provide nitrogen and then buckwheat to assimilate phosphorus and make it readily available to other plants.

Though our winemaker friend,John Thomas, tried to convince us that we should plant a spaghetti orchard, we looked at the young vines consigned to their grow tubes and decided against his suggestion, tempting as it was.  Normally young vines are carefully protected in a greenhouse through the winter months since we are busy making wine in October and it is too wet to plant after that.  This year, the soil dried out enough to cultivate in mid-October.  We staked out the vineyard on a 6 X 6 ft grid,  Tom drilled holes, and Teri made up a concoction of fertilizer and mycorrhiza which she and Dan dispensed into each hole along with a gallon of water.  Meanwhile Johnselected the clones to be set in each row and “voila” a new section of Clos Electrique was born!

Newly planted Clos Electrique Pinot noir

Newly planted Clos Electrique Pinot noir

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