We recently completed the redevelopment of Block 1 in our vineyard. The block was formerly 100% Syrah, but our Happy Canyon success and specialization with Bordeaux varietals determined that we extend our estate scope and replace the Syrah with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and the Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc. As we’ve grown and learned in our grape growing and winemaking endeavors, we’ve refined our approach here at Three Creek Vineyard. Our primary focus is on Bordeaux varietal blends and Sangiovese, whilst still reserving one block for exceptional Syrah.
So with this in mind, we undertook the expensive and rather violent process of removing the Block 1 Syrah. It seems a bit medieval; vines are cut back and chains are wrapped around the vine trunk. The tractor then eases forward, uprooting the poor unsuspecting plant. The effect is something between the basement in the Tower of London and the repotting of Mandrakes in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets…the plants seem most unhappy to be leaving their precious soil.
Several months later, we were ready to plant the new vines. Each 10-15 inch hole is dug by hand. The dormant vines are wrested from their cool slumber, and are ‘awakened’ by hand-snipping the ends of the roots just prior to being placed in the ground. The planter has to carefully position the vine next to the rebar post which will be used as a guide to keep the vining growing in a straight vertical direction. The earth is replaced around the vine without amendment and tamped down with a sturdy boot.
Finally, lightweight plastic tubes are placed over the vine and tethered to the rebar. These vigilant little tubes serve as vine protector, weed abater, and proper vertical growth director.
We were most fortunate to receive a perfect rainstorm the day after we completed planting. Our new vines are off to a sterling start!
Checkout our videos of removing the Syrah and planting the new vines below…