Jeff’s Corner 3-12-18

Well, I have jury duty today (which I love), but just in case I’m sequestered for a few years, I thought I should sneak in a bonus Jeff’s Corner for you to remember me by.

The last two weeks we’ve talked about bud-break, but today we are very fortunate to get the final word from Clint Messimer, the maestro of our vines.  

Oh, by the way, the Chenin Blanc budded out on March 7, just as Brian predicted.  Sometimes his crystal ball is as big as a full moon.

Now, here’s Clint in a slightly edited staff email.  This is really fascinating, and really amazing:

Back to the budbreak…
The Chenin budbreak is significant for us in the vineyard because it marks our biofix date to begin tracking growing degree days–GDDs.  GDDs are simply a measurement of heat units, and you actually get several GD “Days” in a single day.  We record year-to-year about everything we can, and GDDs is one of the most important bits.

GDDs are good for what?  Insects are cold blooded kind of like plants.  Heat and weather dictate their emergence and life cycles.  These are all very predictable when you relate them to certain accumulations of GDDs.  They help us to know when insect pests are gonna be around, and more importantly, when they’ll be vulnerable to sprays.  They also help us anticipate developments in the vines.  Last year y’all asked me when the Mont would start veraison.  Whatever my response was, it was based on a number of GDDs.  And to illustrate just how accurate they are check this out…
since 2014, the Chenin has had a range of beginning veraison of 11 actual days, but only a range of 48 GDDs (1820-1868), which in mid to late June is less than two days.  And, it works like that with everything.  We’ll see if we fall in that range this year, and maybe we can make some predictions on other things and see how we fare.  It’ll be cool