• Neil & Sue Shay

Catching Up


Bluebird Hill Cellars June 2017

The last of winter and most of spring have gone by in a whirlwind. It does give us a great deal of satisfaction, however, when friends or regular visitors will stop by and say ‘Wow – I can’t believe how much has happened since last time I was here!!”. Working our way backward, this is what has been happening out in the vineyard:

1. Our new tractor and air-blast sprayer has been out and working in the vineyard. Our first few sprays have been mainly sulfur, to ensure that powdery mildew does not become an issue in the vineyard.

2. We’ve laid out all of the wire in the north and south blocks. We have a total of 110 rows of vines and now every row has four permanent wires and two ‘catch’ wires (which are raised up gradually during the season to keep all of our grapevine shoots vertically oriented). We estimate this to be about 38 miles of wire!!

3. Another 900+ vines went into the ground mid-April, bringing our estate total to ~ 3.25 acres planted at our high density 5’ x 5’ spacing (meaning, 5’ between the rows, and 5’ between vines within the rows). This year, a bunch more Chardonnay went into the ground and an array of Pinot noir clones went in to replace the dearly departed vines that did not make it through their first few seasons. We’re hoping that next spring will leave us with fewer than 25-50 vines to plant and that will fill in every empty space and replacement on the property! We have set up a drip irrigation system to water all of our new vines for the next year or two to make sure they thrive during the dry, sunny Oregon summer.

4. All the wooden end posts are now in the ground. This includes about 100-plus posts that were pounded into the south block, and eight more posts in the north block, allowing us to plant four more rows of Chardonnay at the top, northeast corner of the property. As mentioned above, miles and miles of wire was strung out in the front to complete the main support wiring system and a bit more were added in the rear block to convert the support wiring from the 3-wire system we installed in 2015, to the 4-wire system we installed this spring in the front block.