We're going to try to get some vines in the ground today. This old vineyard is comprised of three different blocks, two of them still containing original vines going back to the initial planting in 1973 (the Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon). We believe these are the oldest commercial plantings of these varieties in Pennsylvania still producing. That said, the block is nowhere near 100% made up of vines that are that old.
Vines have a lifespan of 20-30 some years usually (under normal conditions.) In unusual cases, they can go past 100 years. But Pennsylvania isn't normal (for more reasons than just weather), so individual vines tend to die out from time-to-time. This calls for replanting those spots. This is what we're up to this week.
Our vineyard was originally planted with twelve foot rows and eight feet between vines. Pretty standard California spacing from the 1970s. This comes to about 454 vines per acre. These days, the thinking is that denser is better for wine quality, so I decided last year that we needed to plant vines in between each of the older ones. We started that project then, and we're trying to finish it now.
On Saturday, four of us planted 250 Chardonnay vines. The goal was for even more yesterday, but the rain changed those plans. We're trying again today with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Wish us luck....