Have you heard about geotextiles? At Adamo Estate Winery, we started testing them in 2014 and last year we fully embraced the program! We are no longer burying the vines during the colder months, we will be relying strictly on blankets to protect our vines.
What are the benefits?
We found that the blankets heat up to 5° warmer in the coldest days and can be much warmer on sunny spring days, keeping our vines toasty as the temps drop. The blankets use the temperature of the earth to moderate the temperature inside the sealed blankets.
We securely close the blankets by covering the edges with soil to prevent the cold winds and ambient air from getting inside. We also secure the blankets to each post to keep the warmer air sealed inside. Having a layer or many layers of snow on top of the blankets helps insulate the plants and protect them the from the coldest winter nights.
Another benefit is that we can use the blankets for frost protection in the spring. We can open the blankets up early, and put them back over the plants to prevent late frost damage if need be.
Vinifera vines (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) are more cold-sensitive than hybrids (Vidal, Marechal Foch and Frontenac, for example) and require protection from our cold winters to stay alive. Most Vinifera vines die at -23° and bud damage happens even sooner depending on bud dormancy. So we’re using the blankets helps keep these vines warm and safe!
What are the challenges?
The one downfall to using these blankets is that they warm up any temperature, so if the outside temperatures is 15°C it will be much warmer under the blankets. This means that we need to wait until the optimal time to put the blankets out, which we do by hand.
Another challenge is getting all of our pruning and tying done in the fall before the blankets go on. We wait as long or as late as possible in the fall to do our pruning and tying as we need the vines to be as dormant as possible to be able to carry out these tasks effectively. Once the vines have lost all of their leaves we move quickly to prune, tie down and apply blankets before the earth freezes and the snow starts to fall. As a comparison, most wine growing regions wait until winter to start their pruning or even late spring for certain varieties.
Looking for more information about Adamo Estate Winery? Please visit our website at www.adamoestate.com.