Hey there! So, we are out in the vineyard. Today, it’s mid-October, and we are getting ready to harvest some syrah grapes from underneath all of this netting.
I get a lot of questions from people who come into Lake Chelan and see all of this netting over our vines. It’s not something that you see in every region of the world.
The netting is something that’s necessary here at the Lake Chelan Wine Valley. We only have a little more than 300 acres of vines planted in this valley, and it’s a big fruit production area. (apples and pears!) The birds are naturally drawn here. The bird netting is just one of those things about making wine in Lake Chelan.
If we don’t put up this bird netting to protect our grapes, we won’t have any come harvest time. So that is what is the deal here. When you see this in another region, you know that they too are suffering from too many of those friendly creatures. That’s really all there is to it.
The other thing that you always ask me about regarding the bird netting is how do we get it on the vines and how do we get it off the vines.
It is actually the coolest process! The netting spools out of this big bag that sits on a platform in the back of our tractor. It’s very much like thread spools out of a sewing machine. The tractor is rolling down the rows spooling over the vines.
Then, when we come back after these grapes have been harvested, then we’ll just spool it back into the bag and tuck those bags away until next August when we have to put the bird netting back on the vines.
Typically our plan for doing that is immediately following veraison. Veraison is the point at which the grapes go from being green, and that’s regardless of red or white grapes, to being purple in the case of reds or changing to a more translucent grape concerning white grapes.
So that’s the deal with what’s up with bird netting, and I hope that was educational, interesting, and answered all your questions about why we have to deal with this stuff.