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March 29, 2010

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Evan: I like the title.

As usual, it's a delicate balance. The greater impact on overloaded vines may be due to the sheer number of vulnerable buds but also the carbohydrate storage in the woody tissue.

Vines store carbohydrates in the wood so that buds and leaves can generate in the spring without the need for photosynthesis (the buds for this coming vintage were actually formed last year). Those energy reserves can depend on harvest time, rootstock, cropload, and frost conditions.

It's yet another tricky balancing act that vineyard managers need to worry about, and complex problems like this keep people like Hans W-P in business :)

It is my first season in the Finger lakes, at heron Hill Vineyard. The fall has been hectic to say the least: early snow/frost in early October and then temps in the 60's until Thanksgiving. The winter was cold but with less snow than anticipated. Now we are having warmer temperature than usual at this time of the year. looks like the weather is harder and harder to predict. As vine growers we depend on the weather conditions and variations. At this point, we have to wait and see, and act according to what's to come. Right now, I'd say I am nervous but not quite worried yet. It's still early, but you never know what lays ahead.

There are some things we can change and some we can't. As a grower, we learn to hedge our bets by leaving extra buds on our vines and later removing them after frost danger has passed. Beyond that we have to be philosophical. Often it is politics or big business that damage our business, and that is very hard to accept. When Mother Nature helps us or hurts us, we have an easier time accepting the results because we realize it was not personal or the result of her greed.

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