Autumn Vineyard Photo Essay, Part 3: Relics of a Challenging Vintage
Autumn Vineyard Photo Essay, Part 5: Grenache

Autumn Vineyard Photo Essay, Part 4: Seeding the Cover Crop

There's not much to do in the vineyard at this time of year.  You need to wait for everything to go fully dormant before you prune, and once harvest is complete, the only typical action you take is to make sure that the vines get some irrigation as they're going dormant (the better to store up energy for a good start the next spring).

One thing that we do in November, weather permitting, is to prepare the ground for a cover crop.  The cover crop plays multiple roles, providing erosion control, weed control, fertilization, and a habitat for beneficial insects.  The cover crop that we use is a custom-mixed blend of sweet peas, oats, vetch and clover. 

The first stage is to disc the ground to break up the roots of anything that remains from the previous winter and allow for better penetration of both seeds and moisture.  You can see, in this photo up between two rows of Roussanne, the newly tilled ground in the middle:


As you can see from the above photo, we've already got some green grass growing in the rows after our inch and a half of rain from the very beginning of the month.  There's more rain scheduled to come early next week, and we wanted to get everything seeded while the ground was still firm enough for tractors.  Another nice shot of the new grass growing growing among the limestone rocks at the top of the vineyard, looking down over the vineyard's oldest section of Grenache:


And finally, one shot of the newly-tilled earth, with a piece of limestone glowing in the autumn sun, clearly showing its signature sedimentary layers: