Archive for the ‘Vineyard News’ Category

A quick recap of the 2013 “Growing Season”

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

“Fall 2013” is just about done for us! It has been a long time since I sat down behind the keyboard to make a blog post. I left you back on March 8th 2012, a lot happened since then. That year we had a bumper grape crop and bust of a corn maze. In 2013 we had just the opposite. If you watch the video I posted from the last post those grape buds made it just fine, then the fears I had in 2012 hit us in 2013 and we lost over 95% of our grape crop. The good news is the corn maze had the best crop ever which made for an awesome maze and a overall great “Fall”!

I took this picture of a full moon rising over they vineyard Friday May 28th as I left the corn maze field after working ground to get ready to plant it the next day.

Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising

That was not a welcome sight to me knowing what a sky can do like that when High pressure weather patterns arrive in late May. I figured we’d have a bad frost but no idea HOW bad. When my wife left the winery at 11:30pm that night there was already a light frost on the window of her vehicle.

Grape vines morning after a freeze

Grape vines morning after a freeze

The feeling a farmer gets when they look at a crop like in the one in the picture above is hard to describe. There are a lot easier ways to “make a living” but I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything. You just sorta learn things like this happen and you try and maintain a “long view” and find the positive. My father in law also lost 17 acres of sweet corn that night, but he took a gamble on trying to put some corn out in “low ground” that grows awesome crops and got burned.

Close up of "fried" grape vines

Close up of "fried" grape vines

The “Big Picture” you just keep telling yourself and keep on swimming as Dory would say (aka Finding Nemo). That same day I took the pictures of the fried grapes I loaded the corn planter and got busy planting the 2013 corn maze. We had already started getting fall campfire/corn maze reservations back in April and I needed to start getting ready.

Loading the Corn Planter

Loading the Corn Planter

I like to plant the corn a bit later than you normally would so that it stays green as long as possible into the fall season for purposes of the maze. This worked well this year and I will get back to that with future blog posts just on how we do the corn maze.

Looking over the hood while planting corn

Looking over the hood while planting corn

The corn maze growing season really had its ups and downs. I have done a lot of work to the corn maze field and it paid off this year. We fixed some drainage problems and have been on a steady annual program of applying cow manure to help with both fertility and organic matter.

But the sun came up each and every morning!

But the sun came up each and every morning!

But the sun came up each and every morning! One of the reasons I do what I do is this is my view from my “office”. People work all year to get to a “place like this”, I live it everyday. Besides all the “normal” stuff we do we also embarked on a other special projects designed to make our fall destination a one of kind place and over this winter I’ll try and review the year both in projects and all the special events we do.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy your trip to our farm as I cover some of the things we do.

Japanese Beatles Attack!

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Looking down the rows

Looking down the rows

Japanese Beatles are Attacking

Japanese Beatles are Attacking

Well here we go again our annual battle the dreaded Japanese beatles. Like many of you who have these nasty pests invade your yard we get them in spades in the vineyard. They really like grapes, really really well.

This is the Traminette vineyard from earlier posts when Thad has been uncovering the vines, and pruning and training. Now we have to defend his work and the plants themselves from this annual pest.

Here are a few videos showing how we deal with them, I need to edit the first two to flow together better but till I do just watch the first two together as one to make sense. Thanks for stopping by.

Close up view of Japanese Beatles

A close up look at the sprayer itself and how it works

Vineyard Update, #Farm, #Ohio Wines,

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
LaCrescent vines 5 weeks after frost/freeze

LaCrescent vines 5 weeks after frost/freeze

Up-close look of our Reisling on VSP

Up-close look of our Reisling on VSP

Todd Vaughan training vines

Todd Vaughan training vines

For this vineyard update we are rushing along trying to bring the vineyards to some sort of balance right now. Currently we are still recovering from the frost/freeze event on May 18th and 19th. Most of these videos and post are related to that as that has pretty much set the tone for the vines this season.

A lot of the work we are doing now is in response to dealing with a regrowth and re-set of fruit on the vines, not so much managing a normal crop, if there is such a thing. One thing will be interesting to see is if any of this fruit has enough growing season left to produce a quality product. Another issue is while a great deal these plants were flowering we had just a general rain and we are not sure how much pollination was successful.

We are seeing huge rapid regrowth which we think is a result of a new bacterial agent low input fertilizer product we are trying this year. Another fruit grower has used it on his apple trees with great success. It basically uses soil bacteria to break down nutrients in the soil and make them more avaliable to the plant.

This allows us to better balance what the plant wants at the same time using fewer inputs. It is also supposed to improve the sugar content of the plant which in turn gives you more bricks in the fruit and hopefully better winter hardiness. We hope so as all this growth could be a recipie for disaster going into the winter.

Reisling Vineyard update

LaCrescent French American vines about 5 weeks after killing freeze/frost.

Field update; Do, Do, Do, lookin’ out my backdoor

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Sweet Corn beginning to tassle

Sweet Corn beginning to tassle

Pepper Patch June 26th 2009

Pepper Patch June 26th 2009

Cabbage Patch June 26th 2009

Cabbage Patch June 26th 2009

Things have really been busy as our field crops are now beginning to get set to go into reproductive stages of development. What does that mean you ask?

In the case of the watermelons they are starting to put out blossoms as they vine out and cover the ground around them, the Sweet Corn is starting to shoot tassles, and peppers are beginning to flower. In the video you can see some of the pollen shedding off the tassle as it floats toward the “ear silks”. We should have Farmers’ Market volume hopefully by the second or third week in July.

Well here are a few videos that can say with a picture more than my word can in a lifetime. I am going to be putting up a few more blog posts that talk more specifically about some of the “Rock Star” crops like our grapes, sweet corn and pumpkins. These guys really tend to steal the show mostly because they get to go and do Fun Stuff with people!

Muck Sweet Corn Ground

Vineyard update Three weeks after frost/freeze

Friday, June 12th, 2009
LaCrescent vines 23 days after frost

LaCrescent vines 23 days after frost

LaCrescent Vines 23 Days after hard frost/freeze

LaCrescent Vines 23 Days after hard frost/freeze

If you have been following along we have had a few entries reporting on the condition of our front vineyard that has the French American Hybrid variety LaCrescent vines. They really got hammered back on May 18th and 19th by an extremely hard frost that actually turned into a freeze before it was over.

I was really heartbreaking because this was this vineyards third year in production and things had really begun to look good and we had good blossom set and the vines looked pretty good considering the winter they had just endured. They just got fried, we lost about 90 percent of the exposed plant tissue, a few blossoms on the inside of the vine that were covered by a leaf or vine escaped but not many.

In the video you can see the secondary fruit set. While it is nice to see the vineyard finally getting a green “cast” to we expect only about half the crop we would have gotten with the original fruit set, but oh well such is life that is why you get rich farming.

Also look for postings on the new alcohol taxes coming down the line. If you voted for change here it comes!!! And hang on to your wallet! http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=90372764563&h=GDvWQ&u=P7S5J&ref=mf

Do you know how you make a million dollars farming?? Start with Two Million!!

Traminette Vineyard, Training the vines and people

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Traminette Vines

Traminette Vines

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Well sorry it has been a few days since I put some news up via this here ole’ Blog I know. It has just been hoppin’ here at Maize Valley. I am trying my best to get er’ done, but some days it just is not so easy. Mostly because pretty much all the content that I post we actually do first.

It is not just like I go out and taste some wine and tell somebody about what I think about it. We actually grow a lot of the vines along with a lot of other things then harvest them then make them into something cool, then market them so others can enjoy them. Along the way life happens and God willing and the creek don’t rise we make a living too. At the end of the day I’d rather have a good Dark Beer, Oatmeal Stout or something like that anyhow, now that’s what I can BODY!

I help coach my daughter’s softball team which we thought was just going to be terrible this year and who would have known it but we are 6 and 3 now and on a roll (won the last four games). Two blow outs and two dog fights, one with extra innings even! The girls are smiling and touching gloves and learning how to work through the tough spots in life. And isn’t that what coaching is all about I guess? I hope the girls someday look back and say “hey coach Bakan helped me get through a tough spot and I can do it again”, been there done that. The season has a long way to go but we have already done more than anybodies wildest dreams.

I suppose wine is sort of like that in some respects, no I don’t mean drink to make your troubles go away but rather wine brings people together and the net effect is more than just drinking or tasting the wine or deciding how “correct” or “unflawed” it is. But rather it sets the stage for people to interact in such a way that things get accomplished, relationships are built and things are learned that help you down the road if you get in a tough spot some day.

I feel so sorry for those that look at wine as a “thing” to only be evaluated and studied for its comparative value related to others like it. No, it can not be garbage either but there is so little to be gained by tearing some down just to elevate another. Life is just too short. Judge it to help you dial in your preference but don’t dig on someone else’s.

Vineyard update Traminette coming along fine

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Thad pruning our Traminette vines

Thad pruning our Traminette vines

We had some winter kill and lost a couple more when we had the heavy frost/freeze but all in all our newest vineyard up at Evan Morris’s place is looking pretty good. In the video below Thad returns now that school is out for summer and is pinching off some of the unwanted growth on the vines.

Basically we are working towards getting two shoots to climb up onto the wire. We bring two up such that we have a bit of an insurance policy in case we lose one of the vines you still get fruit from that plant site. We will be checking back with this particular vineyard from time to time to show the progress it makes this season.

‘Traminette’ resulted from the cross, Joannes Seyve 23.416 x ‘Gew├╝rztraminer’.. This cross was made in 1965 by H.C. Barrett, then of the University of Illinois, with the intention of producing a large clustered table grape with the flavor of ‘Gew├╝rztraminer’. Seed from the cross were sent to Cornell’s grape breeding program where they were planted in 1968. Fruit were first observed in 1971 and the original vine was propagated in 1974 under the number NY65.533.13. The vine was initially described as a vigorous and productive green grape with moderately loose clusters.

Vineyard update, 8 days after Frost/Freeze Ohio Grapes

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Frost on the Ground and Grapes

Frost on the Ground and Grapes

Well it has been a bit over a week since we had that cold snap in from Canada and here is an update video of how the vines look at 8 days after the frost. When you look across the field from a distance you can start to see some new growth and a hint of green is starting to emerge. Looks like we will get some secondary buds coming along and a few did survive that were not as exposed. But all in all it is still rather depressing to go out there.

Heavy Frost in the Vineyard Today

Monday, May 18th, 2009
Frost in the Vineyard

Frost in the Vineyard

This morning we got hit with a pretty heavy frost. Looks like most of the row crops are okay, but as if this afternoon the vines are not looking too good. I just have to ignore them now or I get too depressed and see how hard it was and how much damage we took.

Here are a couple of videos from first thing this morning. I was in better mood then, I guess ignorance is bliss!!

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