Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

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photo by Committed to Dedicated Service & Quality Trees For 75 Years & Counting photos by melissa hansen Hickman: Reedley: 19701 Lake Road 21200 E. Dinuba Ave. Hickman, CA 95323 Reedley, CA 93654 209-874-1821 559-638-6675 800-654-5854 Trident Ag 2-15-13_1/4 page dummy 1/25/13 10:16 AM Page 1 Hugh Shiels micromanages each block to achieve greater fruit uniformity and fruit intensity. design, irrigation, vineyard development, and daily management. Shiels is an orthopedic surgeon in Sunnyside, and though he's practicing only a few days a week these days, in the 1990s he worked full-time hours. The vineyard is on a steep, south- acing slope (1,300 feet in elevation at the top), f which gives good sun exposure and provides air drainage on three sides. It's a warm microclimate in what's generally considered to be a cooler wine grape growing region. Both whites and reds do well there, but in carefully chosen locations of the vineyard. For example, Chardonnay was initially located at the top of the vineyard, but the variety struggled to grow enough canopy. It's been replaced with Cabernet Sauvignon, which does well in the warmer location. The Chardonnay was moved to a lower elevation on the hill. Syrah, a vigorous variety, does particularly well in his rocky soils, and the long but cool growing season of the Yakima Valley allows the variety to fully ripen w ithout losing acidity. Avoid the Orchard of No Return Replant disease can take the profit out of any orchard. Soil fumigation services offered by Trident manage replant disease and other soil-borne pathogens. Trident offers custom applications of Telone® C17, Telone C35, and Pic-Clor 60. Micromanager Shiels micromanages each row of the vineyard, depending on soil variation and water need of the vines. Each row has two drip lines—one for irrigation, one for fertigation. Valves strategically placed along the drip irrigation lines allow him to irrigate each row in segments and apply different amounts of water within the same row. He manages the trellis and canopy on a block-by-block basis, making alterations for the same variety planted in different locations. Crop load is adjusted for each block and may be different within the same row, depending on soils and harvest. Fruit from certain blocks is grown for particular wine styles. For example, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes used for their less expensive Carriage House label, which is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, come from an alluvial block on the lower elevation of the vineyard. The block is thinned to one cluster per shoot. Shiels is also particular about his labor. He hires women only—except for the tractor driver—because he believes they are more nurturing to the vines and detail oriented than men. Five women were desuckering vines the day Good Fruit Grower visited DuBrul Vineyard. During harvest, he adds more women to the harvest crew, always rotating some of the harvest crews to spend time on the presorter at the winery. "They become better pickers that way because they see the berry uniformity that we're after in the winery." All of this micromanaging is a lot of work, he admitted. "But I know this is a superb site, and I want to achieve intense fruit in each block. I want to be able to showcase the varietals of our vineyard as world-class wines through Côte Bonneville winery."  • • Row and broadcast applications available • Specializing in tree fruit, hops, grape, berry, and nursery crops Telone® II, Telone C-17, and Telone C-35 are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Telone II, Telone C-17, Telone C-35, and Pic-Clor 60 are restricted-use pesticides. Soil Fumigation Specialists Serving the Northwest for 29 years NORTHWEST, WA: EASTERN WASHINGTON: EASTERN WASHINGTON: THE DALLES & HOOD RIVER, OR: Tim Purcell..........Mobile 360-630-4285 Robert Rauert ....Mobile 509-728-2004 Jason Rainer .......Mobile 509-731-5424 David Sbur ..........Mobile 971-563-8848 Good Fruit Grower SEPTEMBER 2013 37

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