As you drive thru the vineyard towards The Vineyard tasting room, you’ll think you’ve left Overland Park behind and driven to Napa. The trellis is built from Juniper posts leaning towards the road at a 60 degree angle. Heavy duty ground anchors were driven at least 36” into the ground at just the right angle to hold the trellis into perfect form while the wires are under tremendous pressure. PARA When new vines are planted, they are buried in holes 18” deep with their roots carefully spread and supported on mounds of dirt. All new plants are buried before bud break in May. New plants are clipped to 2 buds and blue grow tubes (for protection) and bamboo stakes are installed.
When the summer months arrive, many a day is spent tending to the rampant growth of the vines. The grapes are only allowed to grow where you anticipated growth during the winter pruning months. Volunteer growth on grape plants are removed regularly and the tendrils of wild, side-growing branches are cut so the branches can lay straight up or down.
Most of the grapes at Aubrey Vineyards are grown on a high wire. The 2 cordons of each grape plant are wound around the high wire which is almost 6’ off the ground. The cordons are the 2 branches either side of the trunk from which spurs are allowed to grow every 5-6”. Other grape plants in the vineyard are grown vertically with cordons resting on a wire which is 36” off the ground. As the spurs grow up, they are held between catch wires so they do not fall over and block the sun from the grapes.
Come July, the first grapes have been tended to for several months and are showing signs of interest to the birds. It’s time to start netting the grapes. Special attachments are installed on the tractors and bags of nets are deployed. They will stay on the vines until harvest.
Harvest mornings start early with unclipping and removing the nets while a team of pickers come along behind using hand pruners to detach grape bunches from the vines. Only the best grape berries are kept and dropped into stackable yellow picking bins. Once full, the bins are collected and stored in conditioned areas to delay natural fermentation—they are waiting for the winemaker to run them thru the de-stemming machine or the press.
The winemaking process takes over from here! The grape vines rest and go dormant some time in December. All winter long, the vineyard team is pruning and tending to each plant. Cuttings from the plants are weighed to help determine the number of buds to leave in the following year. All the current year’s growth is removed and the vines are carefully attached to the trellis and readied for the next season.
Pictured: A new block of Aubrey Vineyards vines have been planted in a meticulously laid out vineyard.