Das Vine-hoff – Year 2

Today – a non-photo related post.  It’s spring again (day 2 of spring 2010 that is) and the vine-hoff is getting an expansion.  We lost one good vine last year during a transplanting: the holes we augered (see below) were really deep and the backfill wasn’t compacted enough to prevent the vines from sinking down into the ground after we planted them.  So all the vines were actually re-planted in August with additional backfill underneath them!

For this year I put in another order with Northeastern Vine Supply – 2 ea. of St. Croix, Leon Millot and Frontenac, as well as one more Frontenac to replace it’s dead brother.  So we should have a total of 12 vines spaced 4ft apart on the south side of our place in Boulder, Colorado.  In theory, each vine will produce enough grapes to make one gallon of wine when they are mature enough – probably 1-2 years for the new guys and either this year or the next for the ones from last season.

Take a look at the process from last season and start getting excited!

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June 2009

Today was the epic creation and planting of the Krughoff Vineyard here in Boulder, CO.  You could call it the “Krug-yard” (redundant however, as “hof” is german for “yard,” so really you’d be calling it the “yard-yard,” and that would be boring) or, the “Krug Vineyard” (but then we’d be infringing on these guys–>

Krug Grande Cuvee
Krug Grande Cuvee
Some cellar of Krug Champagne
Some cellar of Krug Champagne
Charles Krug Winery Napa Valley California
Charles Krug Winery Napa Valley California

Or you could call it the Vine-Hoff (“vine+yard”). So it’s been decided, it will be referred to as the Vine-Hoff!  And here’s how it happened…

The plan:

Plant grapevines that will 1. look nice, 2. produce enough grapes to one day make a bottle of edible red wine, and 3. grow tall enough to one day hang on the cable rail of the deck over the carport.

The challenge:

Colorado has a few grape growing challenges.  1.  Heavy, clay-like soil around my house.  Therefore, deep ripping via gas-powered auger seemed necessary in order to provide both adequate drainage of the soil through the “hardpan” (super hard soil layer) as well as to loosen soil beneath the vines to allow the roots to penetrate deeply, and the second challenge of climate – Hot hot summers and cold cold winters, so a hardy grape variety is essential.  Lots of time on the Google, and awesome recommendations from Rist Canyon Vineyards led me to pick these…

Two vines of each:

  • Frontenac
  • Leon Millot
  • St. Croix

All mail-ordered from Vermont @ Northeastern Vine Supply.  They’re bare root stock, meaning they look like dead sticks with some roots hanging out!  Already budding as they soaked in water today and slowly warming up over the last few days – I think they’re gonna come through in a big way.  Fingers crossed. It wasn’t a simple process…

Step 1:

Weed it and rake it clean!
Weed it and rake it clean!

Step 2:

Rent a massive post-hole auger from Home Depot (Auger bit modeled  by Kevin Suhr)
Rent a massive post-hole auger from Home Depot (Auger bit modeled by Kevin Suhr)

Step 3:

Put it together and dig some holes!!  Yeehaw
Put it together and dig some holes!! Yeehaw

Step 4:

Pull it out of the ground, throw out your back, etc.
Pull it out of the ground, throw out your back, etc.

Step 5:

St. Croix #1 goes in the Boulder soil...
St. Croix #1 goes in the Boulder soil…
I'm pretty excited, needless to say
I’m pretty excited, needless to say

Step 6:

All 6 vines in the ground!
All 6 vines in the ground!

Step 7:

Mulch and weed barrier will hopefully keep maintenance low!
Voila!  Das Vine-Hoff!!   Mulch and weed barrier will hopefully keep maintenance low, stakes and trellis to come soon.

The main pieces left are a deer-net to prevent the local wildlife from snacking on our vines, a seperate zone for drip irrigation of the vines on the automatic sprinkler system of the house, and the permanent trellis system to get those vines nice and high near the deck.  Deer netting tomorrow, irrigation upon return from the 5 day long bike race in Hood River, OR and trellis after I come up with the final design.  Until then, make it go and let it grow.