Mildew in the Vineyard
Powdery Mildew is a common vineyard pest. Most of the time we never have a problem due to a spring application of fungicides.
In the photo there is a faint white spot. These are the mildew spores that were spreading to new growth. The production team will scout the vineyard for this new spore growth to determine if another application of fungicide is necessary. Untreated, mildew can infected berries are not good for making wine.
Controlling the mildew early in the season is very important. This strain of mildew will overwinter, which means some of the mildew spores will live through the cold winter months and become active when the weather warms up.
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Winter in the Vineyard
It’s that time again, time to go dormant. Time to shut down and preserve all of our energy for next year’s growing season. In order to help the plant achieve dormancy before the first frost, the vineyard management team implemented some common winter ready practices.
In August our last round of fertilizer was applied. This allowed plenty of time for the plant to use up those nutrients for spring foliage and berry growth. No more fertilizer applied was to the vines, as we do not want to provide any additional nutrients that might make the plant think it’s need new shoots or growth. There was also a limited amount of water applied; this is also a clue to the plant that it is time to start storing nutrients and energy for the winter ahead. Visually you have seen the vines turn from green to brown, what we call lignification. The lignification starts happening in late September and continues into October. This indicates that the management team is doing a good job shutting the plants down for the winter.
The colder season’s that the Columbia Basin gets truly make this a great place to grow crops. These harsh conditions make it very difficult for pests, diseases, and fungus to thrive or live through the winter. This allows the plant and vineyard manager to get a fresh start in the spring.
Our First Harvest
On October 25th, 2017 Eagle Butte Vineyards had its first harvest in block 9A. This block is comprised of three different Cabernet Sauvignon clones. This was strategic decision by the vineyard management team as each clone has a different flavor profile. Three mechanical harvesters and two gondolas were up and down the rows shaking the grapes right off the vine. The gondolas dumped loads of grapes into bins. When all the bins were full the truck and bin trailer made its way to the winery to be processed. The grapes were received at Goose Ridge Winery where they were crushed and fermented. The final destination is all in the hands of our client K-Vintners and their talented winemaking team.
Spring has Sprung
Although there is still snow on the ground, the work must go on. The crews have been training the young vines and will soon circle back to finish the pruning. This may seem like a simple task, not unlike hacking back a wild rose bush, but there is so much more that goes into the vines. Training and pruning set the crop up for the rest of the year. There are precise calculations that go into determining how many spurs and buds (see diagram below) we are going to leave for this years vintage. Each area of the vineyard is pruned differently based on the soil, water holding capacity, age of the vines, and microclimate. The vineyard manager and viticulturist make these calculations and decisions based on observations and historical harvest tonnages.
Vineyard Manager- Gerardo Rangel
We would like to introduce the Eagle Butte Vineyard Manager, Gerardo Rangel. Gerardo has been with Eagle Butte since 2015, his hard work and innovation has helped make the vineyard such a success. We would like to applaud his dedication to continuing his education. Last month, Gerardo completed the three year Latino Agriculture Education Program (LEAP) for Viticulture. Winegrowers, in partnership with the Wenatchee Valley College and Yakima Valley College, offers the LEAP program for Viticulture. The goal of LEAP is to equip Latino employees in the grape and wine industry with the technical expertise and resources. We are proud of Gerardo’s dedication and hard work, and look forward to many more great vintages together.
In May the grapevines went through a process we call bloom. Flowers of most cultivated grapevine species are hermaphroditic (“perfect”) in that each flower develops the central female structure, the pistil, surrounded by the male structures, the stamens.As we move through June we see fruit set, the flowers are lost, while the young fruit begins to develop. Initially the fruit is smaller than the size of a pea, within a few short weeks with the proper care and nutrition they will develop into the size of pearls.
New Signage Who Dis?!
We are excited to announce we will be bottling our 2017 vintage next month! We can not wait to start selling and sharing this wine with our vineyard neighbors. More information coming soon!
After much anticipation it is finally here!! On October 8th the first vintage of Eagle Butte Vineyards was bottled!!
Our 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will be for sale starting in November for $40.00 per bottle. This is the one and only vintage of Eagle Butte wine and supplies are limited. If you are interested in purchasing some of this exclusive wine please email us at email@example.com. Include how many bottles you would like to purchase, name, and address you would like your wine delivered to. We only accepting cash or check, and sales tax is not included in the bottle price.
The first vintage from Eagle Butte Vineyards, was crafted from three unique Cabernet Sauvignon clones; 46% Clone 7, 33% Clone 8, and 21% clone 15. Aged in 62% new French oak for 20 months. Meticulous viticulture and winemaking practices are reflected in the concentrated flavors of the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Opening with aromas of black cherry and spice. Flavors of ripe blackberries, raspberry jam, and savory spices with a touch of toasted oak complete the long, soft finish of this wine.
2020 spring has been a tricky one. We had some very cold nights in early April, although Cabernet Sauvignon has a very low cold hardiness (-10), we are always weary when we see single digit nights. As we moved through the month we saw that no real damage was done to the buds. Wrapping up this month we are seeing more consistent bud break on the vines. The cooler areas are catching up to the warmer spots in the vineyard.
I want to touch on the new reality we find ourselves in with Covid-19. Agriculture is considered essential, so our Vineyard Manager Gerardo presses on. We have had many conversations about how to stay safe when at work, or at home. This is a scary and uncertain time, we are grateful for the vineyard. It is a reminder that nature is consistent, that we must take care of the vines and grapes. We can all enjoy the vineyard to walk around and observe the beautiful changes that nature brings.
Management Eagle Butte Vineyards
Another vintage has come and gone. As wild as 2020 has been, it did produce very high quality wine grapes. At Eagle Butte we harvested a total of 260 tons from our 58 acres. That is a 4.5 ton to the acre crop. That size crop is going to produce a highly concentrated wine, with depth of flavor and color extraction. We are collaborating with KIDDO Wines to make another vintage from our grapes. We hope that will be released in 2-3 years. It is a labor of love and patience.