Konrad Vineyards Grower's Blog

By Mark Holler

11/7/10 It is great to have the job done and to have worked with such a great group of buyers. We got it done not a moment too soon as this morning the rains started at 2:40am and continued until a full 1" had fallen by noon.

11/6/10 We harvested all the remaining fruit today. We harvested 2.44 tons from Block K1 which is .98acres yielding at 2.48 tons/acre. The K1 yield increased 14% from 2.13 tons in 2009, the only block to show a yield increase. In spite of this larger crop this block still had the highest brix of any fruit we harvested this year. The half ton of K1 fruit that came to Camalie to produce wine samples for grape marketing next year came in at 25.0 Brix. I think our diligent irrigation of this block which is warmest and sees the most airflow paid off.

We also harvested 3.935 tons from K2UE+K3L+K4L+ the Western most row of K5. K2UE is the portion of K2U not taken by Rob Hunter which is .75 acre minus .34 acre or .41 acre. It yielded .785 tons or 1.91 tons/acre. Since Rob's area seems to have yieldied 2.8 tons/acre I suspect I don't have the sub areas quite right. If you combine the two sub-blocks of K2U and the tonnages you get a yield of 2.32 tons/acre much closer to the average for the whole vineyard. K3L yielded 1.392 tons from its .54 acres for a yield of 2.57 tons/acre. K4L+ the one row of K5 yielded1.758 tons from its .67+.08 acres or 2.34 tons/acre. Overall this harvest of 3 blocks yielded 3.935 tons/1.7 acres = 2.31 tons/acre.

It was a glorious day with the most beautiful view of Napa Valley at sunrise I have ever seen. I took a picture from the top of K1 but, it doesn't do the scene justice. Grapes with this view (K1) have to be good.

11/5/10 We harvested 3.028 tons of fruit from block K5 and missed the last row to the West. This row was rolled into the K4L harvest as a free bonus. The block without the upper most row is 1.35 acres which means the yield was 3.028/1.35= 2.24 tons/acre

11/4/10 We harvested 2.14 tons of fruit from K2L which has an area of .81 acres for a yield of 2.64 tons/acre. James relayed to me from the buyer that the brix in the tank was 23.1 which is much higher than the 21.2 Brix I last measured for this block. I am not sure why the discrepancy.

11/3/10 Harvest schedule updated, see below. All dates firm. Box pickups all scheduled. The fruit is softening up a lot now and more green mold is evident. Ramon and 3 guys did a pass of dropping moldy fruit today. I took Brix measurements again mostly out of curiosity and found that the Brix have moved significantly forward by an average of +.68 Brix although this is somewhat distorted by K1 which advanced 1.5 Brix to 24.4 Brix!!. See Brix table below. It looks like it was generally a good decision to have waited through the last rain for Konrad Vineyards. Oddly the opposite seems to be true for Camalie Vineyards which backed up by about .1 Brix. Sometimes I have no clue what is going on in the vineyard.

11/2/10 O.K. The Giants won the world series, its time to pick the grapes. Here is how the harvest schedule is shaping up.

Harvest Schedule
Buyer Block acres tons Harvest Day Destination boxes



Dexter C8,C4 .8 2.0 Thursday

Talisman Wines
21684 Eighth Street East, Suite 470 Sonoma, Ca. 95476

Have Has All of C8 and C10, + old vines only in C4
BinToBottle K2L .81 2.25 Thursday Bin To Bottle, 110 Camino Oruga off N.Kelly Rd. ?   707-307-4510
Johnson K5 1.43 2.8 Friday 825 Fulton Lane St. Helena Pick up 5 Thursday, Has Randle will bring 2 more bins. Clean his bins, remove rainwater and mold.
McBride C5 1.61 4.8 Friday White Rock, 1115 Loma Vista Drive Pickup 8-10 Thursday Forklift Pressure

South 3/4 of each vine pick.

Fannucci K1 .98 2.4 Saturday St. Helena 831 Charter Oak Ave. Have Camalie Narrow Driveway Use Pickup with Trailer.
Sherman K3L,K4L, K2UE 1.2,.3 3.1, 1.1 Saturday Fields - Lodi Have ? Mark all bins with the block of origin of the fruit. assmue 2.6 ton/acre
Holler C1, K2L?   1.5 Saturday Camalie Cave Have Camalie Use Pickup Have Pickers

11/2/10 Yield Summary thus far is below. See the Camalie Blog for other interesting data.

Block Yield Tons
K1 2.5 tons/acre 2.44
K2UW 2.32 tons/acre* .955
K2L 2.64 tons/acre 2.14
K3UU,K4UU 2.0 tons/acre 1.77
K3M,K4M 2.54 tons/acre 1.859
K3L,K4L,K2UE 2.31 tons/acre 3.935
K5 2.24 tons/acre 3.028
K6 2.73 tons/acre 3.28
AVG./total 2.41 tons/acre 19.43 tons

* The areas of this sub block is probably not right as it would produce a yield of 2.8 tons/acre while K2Ue produces only 1.91 tons/acre. Combining the two K2U sub blocks you get 2.312 tons/acre which is more reasonable. I have used this more reasonable number in the calculation of the average yield.

11/1/10 Mon. The Giants are going to win the world series for the first time in 53 years before we have all our fruit picked this year.  The latest forecast is for another 11 days  of sunshine after a very nice sunny day yesterday.

Call me when you are ready to schedule your harvest.  650-799-6571.   I plan to measure Brix again on Wednesday or maybe Thursday if the forecast of sun holds up. 

I cancelled harvesting my own fruit this last Saturday in spite of having all my winemaking friends on site.  Instead we pressed some syrah. 

10/31/10 Sun. We had only .04" of rain over the last two days since the quarter inch of rain fell but, this .04" was spread out over the last two days evenly just enough to keep everthing wet.

10/29/10 We had no rain on the 28th although rain was forecast. We received .25" of rain today on the 29th between 11:00pm last night and 9:00am this morning. Very limited sun both days but at least a breif period of full sun today. My home winemaking party scheduled for tomorrow likely won't involve harvesting any grapes. I have a little syrah to press.

10/27/10 Harvested blocks K3U, K4U between the berms yielding 1.859 tons from .73 acres for a yield of 2.54 tons/acre. The upper halves of these blocks yielded 2.0 ton/acre on 10/21/10. We also harvested 3.28 tons from 1.2 acre K6 yielding at 2.73 tons/acre.

10/26/10 Brix Sampling done. As might be expected the 4" of rain set back the Brix significantly, more for the blocks that were further ahead and less for those that were behind.

Block Brix 9/15/10 Brix 9/22/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 9/29/10

T.A. g/l 9/29/10

pH 9/29/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 10/6/10 T.A. g/l 10/6/10 pH 10/6/10 Brix Delta Last week Brix 10/13/10 T.A. g/l 10/13/10 pH 10/13/10 Brix Delta Last week

Brix* 10/20/10

T.A. g/l 10/20/10 pH

Brix Delta Last Week


Brix 10/26/10

Brix Delta Last 6 days Brix 11/3/10 Brix Delta Last 8 days
K1 18.8 20.0 1.2 22.3 6.55 3.44 2.3 22.2 5.95 3.34 -0.1 24.0     1.8 23.7     0 K1 22.9 -.8 24.4 +1.5
K2U 17.9 Not Sampled NA         21.8 6.7 3.57   24.0     2.2 23.9     0.2 K2U 22.7 -1.1 23.3 +0.6
K2L 17.4 18.3 .9 20.2 7.85 3.43 1.9 20.6 8.2 3.47 0.4 21.7     1.1 21.2     -0.5 K2L 20.9 -.3 21.2 +0.3
K3U 19   .3                         23.7       K3U        
K4U 19.3   0.1                         23.7       K4U        
K3U+K4U   19.4 0.1-0.3 21.8 6.45 3.53 2.4 22.2     0.4 23.3 6.5 3.62 1.1 23.7 6.45 3.88 0.7 K3U+K4U 23.6 -.1    
K3L+K4L 18.8 19.5 .7 21.6 7.3 3.49 2.1 22.0 7.35 3.47 0.4 23.2     1.2 23.1     0.2 K3L+K4L 22.9 -.2 23.3 +0.4
K5 19.3 19.6 .3 22.2     2.6 22.6 7.25 3.47


23.2     0.7 22.9     0 K5 22.9 0 23.5 +0.6
K6 18.4 19.6 1.2 21.4 6.45 3.47 1.8 22.0 6.9 3.55 0.6 22.7     0.7 22.7     0.3 K6 22.6 -.1    
Average 18.6 19.4 1.04       2.2 21.9     .35 23.1     1.26       0.16 Average   -.37   +.68

10/25/10 Two buyers, K3U, K4U and K6 have scheduled their picking for this Wednesday 10/27.

10/24/10 It rained until 3:20pm and then abruptly stopped after dropping a total of 4.0" of rain. Sounds a lot like last year but a couple weeks later. So much for the 2" forecast. Some of it is probably the differential between the valley and Mt. Veeder. We get 40" of rain a year while the valley is significantly less. It is still rather warm at about 57F now.

10/23/10 8:00am. It is still drizzling but the total accumulation for the latest storm over the last two days is just .17" now. 11/22/10 We harvested .955 tons from block K2UW this morning and delivered it to Rob Hunter. This fruit was harvested from .34 acres which corresponds to a yield of 2.8 tons/acre. ETS lab results from Rob 10/26/10 on the must. 22.7 'Bx 3.8q g/L TiA 3.93 pH.
There was a slight rain falling which made the harvesting more of a challenge and somewhat muddy but, with only .15" fallen in the latest storm the mud layer is still only a half inch deep or so and it is still possible to get traction.

10/21/10 We picked 1.77 tons from the upper halves of Jeff Fontanella's blocks K3U and K4U this morning. The area of this pick was roughly 0.9 acres which means the yield in this area was approximately 2.0 tons/acre. The larger K2U, K3U, K4U combination area yielded 2.6 tons/acre in 2009. The lower parts of these blocks tend to yield higher so the yield may actually be very close to last year's.

Rob Hunter is now scheduled to pick 1 ton from K2U tomorrow morning. No other harvesting is scheduled at this point (5:00pm) from Konrad Vineyards. My digital refractomerter just arrived. I still have yesterday's samples and will retest.

10/20/10 Latest Grape sampling is in the table below. We had very limited advancement of the Brix, about 0.2 due to the rain and the shortening days. The Brix numbers this week are lower partly because I recalibrated my refractometer which was reading 0.3 Brix high.

Jeff Fontanella has decided to pick blocks K3U and K4U above the upper berm tomorrow, 10/21/10 late morning.

Block Brix 9/15/10 Brix 9/22/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 9/29/10

T.A. g/l 9/29/10

pH 9/29/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 10/6/10 T.A. g/l 10/6/10 pH 10/6/10 Brix Delta Last week Brix 10/13/10 T.A. g/l 10/13/10 pH 10/13/10 Brix Delta Last week

Brix* 10/20/10

T.A. g/l 10/20/10 pH

Brix Delta Last Week

K1 18.8 20.0 1.2 22.3 6.55 3.44 2.3 22.2 5.95 3.34 -0.1 24.0     1.8 23.7     0
K2U 17.9 Not Sampled NA         21.8 6.7 3.57   24.0     2.2 23.9     0.2
K2L 17.4 18.3 .9 20.2 7.85 3.43 1.9 20.6 8.2 3.47 0.4 21.7     1.1 21.2     -0.2
K3U 19   .3                         23.7      
K4U 19.3   0.1                         23.7      
K3U+K4U   19.4 0.1-0.3 21.8 6.45 3.53 2.4 22.2     0.4 23.3 6.5 3.62 1.1 23.7 6.45 3.88 0.7
K3L+K4L 18.8 19.5 .7 21.6 7.3 3.49 2.1 22.0 7.35 3.47 0.4 23.2     1.2 23.1     0.2
K5 19.3 19.6 .3 22.2     2.6 22.6 7.25 3.47


23.2     0.7 22.9     0
K6 18.4 19.6 1.2 21.4 6.45 3.47 1.8 22.0 6.9 3.55 0.6 22.7     0.7 22.7     0.3
Average 18.6 19.4 1.04       2.2 21.9     .35 23.1     1.26       0.17

* Refractometer recalibrated using 20Brix sugar solution reference and distilled water. Refractometer found to have been reading high by 0.3 Brix. I have ordered a new digital Brix meter from Atago which should arrive any day.

All irrigation has been shut down since the rain.

10/17/10 The temperature dropped 15 degrees in the last day and we just had 0.16" of rain around noon and only another .01 inches overnight. Ramon's 30 years of experience on Mt. Veeder is that it takes more than an inch of rain to get the botrytis going. I believe we are still O.K. You can access this data and other data at any time by going to and typing username: admin and password: relloh

10/15/10 Jeff Fontanella said he is thinking he wants to harvest before the rain expected late next week.

10/13/10 We had a great week with the Brix rising by 1.2 on average bringing us to 23 Brix on average. The upper most blocks saw some dehydration taking them up by 2.0 Brix to 24.0 Brix. I predicted 1.0-1.2 Brix average this week which is pretty close. The roller coaster temperature is up again with three ideal growing days of full sun peaking at 91F to 93F and warm nights dropping only to 70F. This along with no rain in the 7 day forecast means we're going to make it. I predict we will get another 1.0 Brix in the next week.

ETS data sampled 2 bunches from K3 between the two berms and 2 buncches from K4 between the berms. One bunch from each side of row. ETSJuiceReport101310

Block Brix 9/15/10 Brix 9/22/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 9/29/10

T.A. g/l 9/29/10

pH 9/29/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 10/6/10 T.A. g/l 10/6/10 pH 10/6/10 Brix Delta Last week Brix 10/13/10 T.A. g/l 10/13/10 pH 10/13/10 Brix Delta Last week
K1 18.8 20.0 1.2 22.3 6.55 3.44 2.3 22.2 5.95 3.34 -0.1 24.0     1.8
K2U 17.9 Not Sampled NA         21.8 6.7 3.57   24.0     2.2
K2L 17.4 18.3 .9 20.2 7.85 3.43 1.9 20.6 8.2 3.47 0.4 21.7     1.1
K3U 19   .3                        
K4U 19.3   0.1                        
K3U+K4U   19.4 0.1-0.3 21.8 6.45 3.53 2.4 22.2     0.4 23.3 6.5 3.62 1.1
K3L+K4L 18.8 19.5 .7 21.6 7.3 3.49 2.1 22.0 7.35 3.47 0.4 23.2     1.2
K5 19.3 19.6 .3 22.2     2.6 22.6 7.25 3.47


23.2     0.7
K6 18.4 19.6 1.2 21.4 6.45 3.47 1.8 22.0 6.9 3.55 0.6 22.7     0.7
Average 18.6 19.4 1.04       2.2 21.9     .35 23.1     1.26

10/6/10 Fourth grape sampling this morning between 8:00am and 11:00am. See the table below. The most recent week was much cooler than the week before and as a result the Brix advance was 6X slower than the week before, down from 2.2 Brix/week change to only .35 Brix/week. Some of this slowdown is probably due to replacement of water lost during the hot spell. The normal Brix increase at this time of year is 1.5 Brix per week which is close to the average of the two weeks which is 1.27 Brix/week. My prediction for the coming week is that we will see 1.0 to 1.2 Brix increase with weather predicted in the high 70s to low 80s, near perfect for this time of year. Flavors are very good with little IBMP evident.

Block Brix 9/15/10 Brix 9/22/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 9/29/10

T.A. g/l 9/29/10

pH 9/29/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 10/6/10 T.A. g/l 10/6/10 pH 10/6/10
K1 18.8 20.0 1.2 22.3 6.55 3.44 2.3 22.2 5.95 3.34
K2U 17.9 Not Sampled NA         21.8 6.7 3.57
K2L 17.4 18.3 .9 20.2 7.85 3.43 1.9 20.6 8.2 3.47
K3U 19   .3              
K4U 19.3   0.1              
K3U+K4U   19.4 0.1-0.3 21.8 6.45 3.53 2.4 22.2    
K3L+K4L 18.8 19.5 .7 21.6 7.3 3.49 2.1 22.0 7.35 3.47
K5 19.3 19.6 .3 22.2     2.6 22.6 7.25 3.47
K6 18.4 19.6 1.2 21.4 6.45 3.47 1.8 22.0 6.9 3.55
Average 18.6 19.4 1.04       2.2 21.9    

Some minor sign of turkey or deer damage on a few vines at the extreme corner of K5. A large buck went crashing through the woods just outside the fence as I was sampling K5. Scared the heck out of me. Here is a picture from K4 Lower.

9/30/10 Measured T.A. and pH data on the samples taken yesterday and added to the table below.

9/29/10 Third grape sampling this morning between 8:00am and 10:40am. See the table below. The temp trend graph below tells the story of the gradually rising heat wave that bailed us out this week with1.8 to2.6 Brix rises in sugar levels. Monday and Tuesday were 100F days but, after the gradual rise the vines took the heat in stride. No sunburn at all. Also note our Mt. Veeder temperature inversions that kept the night time temps in the 70s. The flavors have changed dramatically with IBMP dropping to undetectable in most places.

No sign of dehydration in the lower parts of K2, K3 and K4 even without any irrigation. This is amazing.

There is an occasional sign of dehydration as you can see in the dimpling in this picture from the top of K1 but, in general it is minimal.

Below is a picture from K3L (unirrigated). You can see the vines are not showing significant signs of senescence. Some dimpling but, limited.

9/22/10 Second Grape sampling taken this morning between 8:00am and 10:00am. Identical sampling technique used, and same sites except as noted. All sampling/measurements again by M. Holler. The average Brix for the vineyard is now19.4 Brix. Vines look healthy, no sinescence, no dehydration. We had two days of mostly overcast during this period which may have slowed ripening by maybe 15% which means we might expect to see 30% more Brix change this week. The average Brix change this week was .8 Brix. Adding 30% to this we get 1.0 Brix. If our target is 26 Brix and we are now at 19.4 we have 6.6 Brix to go or 6.6 weeks which would put harvest in the first week of November. This is a large extrapolation, 6 weeks from one week's worth of data, but it is what it is. I wouldn't schedule your crush on this but, I don't think you should expect harvest before mid October.

Block Brix 9/15/10 Brix 9/22/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 9/29/10

T.A. g/l 9/29/10

pH 9/29/10 Brix Delta Last Week Brix 10/6/10 T.A. g/l 10/6/10 pH 10/6/10 Brix Delta Last week
K1 18.8 20.0 1.2 22.3 6.55 3.44 2.3 22.2 5.95 3.34 -0.1
K2U 17.9 Not Sampled NA         21.8 6.7 3.57  
K2L 17.4 18.3 .9 20.2 7.85 3.43 1.9 20.6 8.2 3.47 0.4
K3U 19   .3                
K4U 19.3   0.1                
K3U+K4U   19.4 0.1-0.3 21.8 6.45 3.53 2.4 22.2     0.4
K3L+K4L 18.8 19.5 .7 21.6 7.3 3.49 2.1 22.0 7.35 3.47 0.4
K5 19.3 19.6 .3 22.2     2.6 22.6 7.25 3.47


K6 18.4 19.6 1.2 21.4 6.45 3.47 1.8 22.0 6.9 3.55 0.6
Average 18.6 19.4 1.04                

9/15/10 I sampled grapes today using the same techniques and methodology as last year, generally 30-50 grape samples from as many vines in the middle of each block. All grapes sampled from the middle of bunches, half from one side of the row and half from the other, half from middle of the cordon and half from the ends.

We are 2.5-4 Brix behind last year's numbers on 9/11/09. See below for 2009 numbers. With an expectation of 1.5 Brix/week +/-.5 Brix we still have 5 weeks to go to get to 26 Brix. This means it will be the third week in October when we harvest +/- 1.5 weeks. We are about 2 weeks behind last year's harvest to first order.

9/8/10 Kian Tavakoli working for Ryan Sherman and company Sampled Brix etc to get an early look.

K3L 15.8 Brix, 3.11 pH and 12.6g/l T.A.----------- K4L16.6 Brix, 3.09 pH and 12.5g/l T.A.

8/25/10 Good solid hot day yesterday 96F and a couple of warm nights. I gave K1, K2U an extra 2 gallons of water yesterday.

We have used 190K gallons of water to date which is about half of our water budget. About 60K gallons was lost to a water filter blow out which means the vines have seen about 130K gallons which translates to about 18 gallons/vine thus far. Somewhat more if you take into account that the lower halves of K2-K4 have not received any water at all yet.

Veraison Pass Policies 8/23/20 

In Blocks K2L and  K3L 
Drop the following fruit from typical vines:  
   Fruit that is greener and clearly behind in ripeness relative to other bunches on the vine. 
   Wings( half of a double bunch),   Shoulder's, ( more than 5 berries, or greener than main bunch)
   Fruit on weaker shoots, go from two bunches to one for shoot length 18-24" or one bunch to zero for shoot length under 18".  Target 3 bunches/spur
   Sunburned fruit,
   Fruit in the center of congested areas, 
   Second crop - bunches greater than 10 berries. 
   Scale for more or less vigorous vines

In Blocks K1, K2U, K3U, K4U, K5,K6
Do the same except do not drop additional good fruit to target 3 bunches/spur. . 

A typical vine has 10-12 spurs. Typical bunch counts are 22 to 30 bunches/vine. and there are 900 vines/acre. If bunches are between 1/4 and 1/3 lb as they were last year the yield will be 3.2 tons/acre nominal. After dropping fruit the bunch count will be closer to 18-25 bunches/vine and the yield closer to 2.9 tons/acre which is right where we want to be.

8/21/10 Block K4 is ahead of K3 significantly with the greenest fruit still around 20% red is in the South Western Corner of K3L.   Their fruit is all below the lower berm.   We discussed what cultural policies to use in the Veraison pass that will start this Monday.  

My goal this year is to keep all of our buyers very happy this and anxious to buy our fruit again next year.   This means prioritizing quality above yield and even trading some yield to improve quality.   Fortunately, especially in the lower blocks we have good yield to work with.   Another benefit to trading some yield for quality is that it will shorten the time to ripeness.  With the cool season this year we could have trouble achieving full ripeness if the cool weather persists.   Again fortunately where ripening is furthest behind we have the highest yields. 

Bunch counts per vine are in the 22 to 30 range this year with spur counts of 10-12.   No rabbit ears (double spurs at a position) this year which has brought down the bunch counts from 28 to 35.  This change in pruning policy has made a significant improvement in our ripening progress already as is most readily evidenced by K6 matching the upper blocks in its ripeness and Konrad Vineyards' ripening in general being ahead of Domaine Chandon's ripening.  It is evident that K2L and K3L could have been cropped even lighter.   To pull in and tighten up the ripeness distribution in these two blocks we plan to drop fruit fairly aggressively.  

8/15/10 Irrigation applications have now begun for most blocks. Here is the current schedule:

K1 2x 4hrs. 4 gal/wk.

K2U 2x 4hrs. 4 gal/wk.

K2L, K3L, K4L no irrigation

K3U, K4U, K5 2x 4hrs. 4 gal/wk.

K6 1x 4hrs. 2 gal/wk.

Camalie Vineyards C1, C2, C3, 1 x 4hrs. 2 gal/wk. C4, 1x 2hrs./wk. 1 gal/wk.

All irrigations are done early evening or predawn under computer timer control. Irrigations are verified both by monitoring the manifold pressure and soil moistures.

8/11/10 The grapes are now into veraison. Here are my very qualitative estimates of how many grapes have color now in the various blocks.

K1 25-40%, K2U 20-30%, K2L 0-10%, K3U 20-30%, K3L 0-10%, K4U 20-30%, K4L 0-10%, K5 20-30%, K6 30-50%

Surprisingly K6 is furthest along or at least tied with K1.  Our reduction of the bud count at pruning is the likely cause.    There is significant water stress evident in the upper blocks, K5 and K6 and berry sizes are  relatively small as was our goal.



The weather has been quite cool over the last month with only one day over 90F and only 2 days of the last 10 over 80F.    I am a little worried about our ability to ripen the fruit but, because we have cropped lighter this year for quality and can still drop more fruit at veraison I think we will be all right.   

Ramon’s aggressive leaf pulling has put quite a bit of sun on the fruit without causing significant sunburn with the cool weather and morning fog.
Below you can see the solar radiation for the last two weeks.   When I zoom in on the graph I can see that the fog is burning off between 9:30am and noon.  Some days it never burns off completely.    

The powdery mildew index has been high. 

With the cool weather and our goal of small berry size by doing deficit Irrigation we have given no water at all to the lower blocks of Konrad’s and only 2 gal/week going to the upper blocks.  K1 is a little dry and needs an increase, to 4 gal/week.   Camalie has had only 2 gallons/week irrigation. 

7/18/10 The grapes are past pea size now and we have started to irrigate the dryest 20% of the vineyard, the upper blocks. Ramon has been leafing, shoot thinning and hedging with a crew of 5 guys and is now 80% done with the vineyard. This will get more sunlight on the grapes and reduce mildew pressure. Fruit set is solid and should produce yields similar to last year. We can be agressive in removing fruit to tighten up the ripeness distribution and ensure that all the fruit ripens. 7/18/10 Photos

The vineyard guys were sitting around having a couple of beers on Friday after work and I had the pleasure of strumming a few chords with them. Their hands were swollen with the work of pulling leaves making it hard for them to play the guitar but, they still did better than I did. The hedging was done with a Stihl hand held hedge trimmer. Holding this 30 lb. trimmer up to your shoulders for even a hour is a challenge. I think they did a great job of opening up the canopy and exposing the fruit on the East side to morning sun to reduce the IBMP and improve ripe flavors. So far no sunburn. K4 and K5 remain to be done. See photos

The soil temperature made an abrupt upward rise in the last week from 74 to 78F, later relative to last year.

The powdery Mildew Index has been running high since early June and we are seeing some minor outbreaks. We are increasing our sulfur application frequency and considering use of a fungicide.

6/23/10 Bloom is now complete and it looks like we have a good fruit set that should provide typical yields. Soils are beginning to dry but we will hold off on irrigation until we get to -13 Bar stress or 150cBar soil moisture tension at 24" depth to keep berry sizes down and concentration up.

6/17/10 The vineyard was "flown" again to get higher resolution images and NDVI images. The increase in vigor between the 12th and 29th is stunning. This is the period when the temperature finally warmed up.

6/12/10 The vineyard was "flown" and an aerial photograph taken showing vine vigor and uniformity as well as how far Ramon had mown. You can see a blue dot at the edge of the vineyard where the tractor is parked.

5/20/10 Very Cool and wet Spring this year. The shoots are now 15-20" long and shoot thinning and suckering are being done now. Pictures. We have done one application of wettable sulfur for mildew thus far which has already been washed off by the rain. The cool temps are keeping the powdery mildew index very low. No sign of any mildew at all.

5/10/10 Fertigations were done as follows using 15/0/0/19, N/P/K/Ca, : K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, : 10 grams/vine, K6: 6 grams/vine, Malbec, 30 grams/vine. The irrigation system upgrades done this spring have resulted in no leakage in the siphon line at all over multiple weeks. 4 more wireless nodes were added to monitor the pond level and pressures in the siphon and at the irrigation manifold. We are waiting on pressure sensors to complete the monitoring capability. We could easily add a weather station now with the network present.

4/15/10 Ramon planted 160 vines of Malbec 596 on 101-14 in a plot to the west of K2U. These vines are dormant bench grafts. The goal is to grow some grapes which can be used for blending to add more forward fruit to the cabernet sauvignon grown here. Block K5 had an older clone of Malbec but never would set fruit and was budded over to Cab in 2005. This is a second attempt in a different place with different clone and rootstock based on input from Randle Johnson.

3/22/10 Bud Break! Here we go again.

2/22/10 Pruning is now complete. Pictures and notes on the policy used are provided Here.

In summary the total yield for the 7.6 acre vineyard was 22.2 tons which corresponds to 2.92 tons/acre on average ranging from 2.2 tons/acre to 3.6 tons/acre. More variance than I would like to see but average yield close to where we want it for economic sustainability.

Final calculation on water use is that we used about 375K gallons which is about 48.7 gallons per vine. About 15-20% of the water in the reservoir was not used. Thanks to the addition of a water meter in 2009 we now know what our water use is and we know that the capacity of the pond is about 1.3 acre feet. This knowledge makes water budgeting possible. 2009 had late rains and a cool early season which means that subsequent years are likely to require more water use. The difference in water use between upper and lower blocks was more than 2X and resulted in major water savings in the lower blocks after we installed mid row valves. Installation of computer controlled timers also allowed us to save water by watering after sunset. Irrigation was more consistent due to the ability to water each block sequentially without requiring an irrigator to be onsite for the full sequence. Pressure drops are less with single block water flows. The 8 station eKo Pro wireless soil moisture sensing system installed enabled precision irrigation which saved substantial water use and improved fruit quality by stressing the vines optimally.

10/27/09 Harvested last 2.928 tons from block K2L. Good yield for that block, even with the thinning.
The numbers are: 25.4 Brix, 3.86 pH, .41 TA, 90 YAN (low), 228 glu/fru (also low). This block is .81 acres in area which means the yield for this block was 3.6 tons/acre.

10/22/09 K6 harvested yielding 4.41 tons from 1.2 acres for a yield of 3.7 tons/acre. Afterwards the crew went over to K2L and dropped black/green mold partial clusters.

10/22/09 6:00pm. Informal Brix samples taken, K2L-24.0 Brix, K6-25.2 Brix. It was a smaller than usual berry sample stored in a pocket for the walk back from the vineyard. K2L is showing some significant green/black penicillin mold on dehyrated fruit but, this was not seen significantly in K6. The fruit is getting quite soft but the vines still have lots of green leaves. Some fruit was dropped in K6 by persons unknown. Flavors are intense and mature in my opinion. Some fresh fruit, flavors with plenty of acidity, and some jammy flavors toward the raisin end of the spectrum in the dimpled fruit. Green pepper flavors were not prominent. Pictures from K2L shown below. Green mold on right.

10/16/09 Brix Readings taken. See Table Below. Sampled in the morning between 7:00 and 10:00am. The sugar concentration took a 1.2-1.3 Brix step backwards (5%) probably due to the rain we received increasing the hydration of the grapes. Some days us growers get a break. There may be dilution but all the sugar, acid and flavor maturity that was there before the rain should still be there.

The vineyard soil is very wet and soft, too wet for crawler but today is full sun and warm which should dry it out quickly. Some traces of botrytis observed on badly dehydrated or sunburned fruit but much less than a 1% problem at this point.

10/13/09 We received 4.5" of rain today with blocks K2L and K6 still hanging fruit. More drizzles on the 15th but now the 16th looks like a clear day from the start.

10/11/09 We harvested 3.88 tons from K3L,K4L. This block is 1.2 acres which makes the yield 3.2 tons/acre. K3LK4Ljuice report

10/8/09 We harvested 5.242 tons from blocks K2U,K3U, K4U. This block is 2.4 acres but .2 acres of K3U had been harvested to make a barrel for Dr. Konrad. This means the yield was 5.242 tons from 2.2 acres or 2.4 tons/acre.

10/7/09 We harvested 3.06 tons from block K5 this morning. The grapes arrived at the winery at 12:30pm. The forecast was 3.2 tons (3.6 tons with 11% dehydration). This corresponds to an average yield of 2.24 ton/acre for this 1.4 acre block. This block is not representative of the rest of the vineyard because about half of the fruit in this block comes from 2/3 the acreage of this block which was budded over from Malbec to Cab only 3 years ago.

10/6/09 Samples were taken between 10:00am and noon for Brix readings which appear in the table below. Flavors are maturing nicely. We currently have scheduled to harvest K5 on Wednesday morning, K2U, K3U, K4U on Thursday morning and tentatively K3L,K4L on Sunday morning. K6 and K2L are taking their time. Also they had the least amount of dehydration which is partly why their Brix are lower.

10/3/09 Konrad and Holler picked 1155 lbs. from rows 27-29 above the lower berm with Jeff Fonatanella's approval to make a barrel of wine for Dr. Konrad. 168 vines were harvested in these three rows which means these vines yielded on average 6.9 lbs/vine or 3.1 tons/acre. Brix in the tank was 27.3 with a T.A. of 6.8 g/l. and pH 3.7.

10/2/09 Rob Hunter Reports on the fruit from K1: "The sugar is 28.35 Brix by digital frefrac. I will bring a sample to ETS after tomorrow's punchdown. Color's already black purple." Here is the report he got back from ETS: GrapeJuiceReport09K1Hunter

10/1/09 Block K1 was harvested this morning. The block is .98 acres and yielded 2.13 tons. My prediction was 2.3 tons before the heatwave and 10% less after the heatwave, which would be 2.1 tons. Can't do any better than that. The pre heatwave forecast is at the bottom of the Konrad Yield page.

9/29/09 Sampled grapes this morning between 8:00am and 10:00am and here is the latest data:

Samling Dates: --------9/11 ------- 9/24-----------9/24----------9/24 --------- 9/29 ------- 9/29 ----------- 9/29 --- dehydr. Factor ---10/6-------10/16

K1 ----- -------------25.0 Brix --- 27.3 Brix. -----6.9g/l T.A. ---3.6 pH ----- 30.0 Brix---- 7.6 g/l T.A. --- 3.5pH ------ 10% ---------- picked --- picked

K2U, K3U, K4U --- 23.0 Brix --- 25.6 Brix ------6.2 g/l T.A. --3.7 pH ------ 27.6 Brix--- 7.7 g/l T.A. --- 3.56pH ----- 24% ----------29.3 Brix-- picked

K2L --- -------------20.7 Brix ----23.6 Brix-------7.5 g/l T.A. --3.5 pH ----- 26.9* Brix -- 7.1* g/l T.A. -- 3.6pH ------ 4% ---------- 26.0 Brix--- 24.7

K3L,K4L ----------- 22.3 Brix ----24.9 Brix ------6.6 g/l T.A. --3.6 pH ----- 26.9* Brix -- 7.1* g/l T.A. -- 3.6 pH ----- 4% ---------- 28.0 Brix --- picked

K5L ---------------- 23.3 Brix ---- 27.0 Brix; ---- 6.15 g/l T.A. -3.7 pH ----- 27.2 Brix --- 6.85 g/l T.A. -- 3.7pH ------ 11% --------- 28.0 Brix -- picked

K6 ------------------ 21.7 Brix ----22.7 Brix ----- 6.95 g/l T.A. -3.5 pH ----- 24.5 Brix --- 6.75 g/l T.A. -- 3.55pH ----- 0% ---------- 25.6 Brix -- 24.4

You can see that the hot days did indeed cause a fair amount of dehydration in spite of the irrigations we did. The acidities rose significantly which is due to dehydration. Normal ripening reduces the acidities. A little basic chemistry math allows us to calculate how much dehdration occurred if we assume that no ripening occurred. The concentration of the acid went up due to loss of water in the grape juice solution. If the T.A. increased by 10% as it did for block K1 this means that the water content in the berries of K1 dropped by 10%. Since water is lighter than the sugar the specific gravity of the juice is something like 11% higher than that of water. As a result the weight loss in the fruit due to the 10% volumetric water loss is 10% x .89 or 8.9%. If you apply this wt. loss due to dehydration to the yield estimates I made Konrad Yield page you can estimate the change in your yield. The average dehydration was 8.8% but varied widely from 0 to 24%. On the average the yield numbers will be less by 9% which should be good news to you because it means you will get 9% more sugar/tannin flavor for your dollars. It means that the new nominal yield per acre estimate is 2.73 tons/acre down from 3.0 tons/acre.

To estimate the "real" ripeness of your grapes I would multiply the numbers above by 1minus the dehydration factor to take out the dehydration effect. The upper blocks took the hardest hit while the lower blocks saw half the effect. Block K6 showed no dehydration! The 24% dehydration seen for K2U, K3U and K4U is likely due to a bad T.A. measurement The brix should have gone up a similar amount but, didn't.

*Only one joint sample taken for K2L and K3L, K4L to save time. K2L is probably .6 brix lower than this value and K3L,K4L is probably .4 Brix higher than this value based on the 9/24 differential seen.

9/28/09 I haven't sampled grapes yet today but it is likely that we have some major changes after three days of high heat, 95, 100, 98F highs and only 70 F lows. I will measure Brix tomorrow morning to give the vines a little time to stabilize after the heat wave followed by a very cool evening last night, a 50 degree temp swing in 12 hours.

We used irrigation before and during this heat spell to protect the vines from excessive water stress. Based on the soil moisture data they should not have gone beyond -15 Bar Leaf water potential. Below is the soil moisture curve which shows the irrigations. Lower = wetter. The downward transients are irrigation events.

9/24/09 Sampled grapes between 8:00am and 10:00am and measured Brix again. Same methodology as before. There is a fair amount of deyhdration evidenced by dimpling in the upper areas especially. The T.A. measurement shows the acidity has risen for K1 which is consistent with dehydration. The rate of ripening is generally around .5 to1.5 Brix/ week, slower than other years and intervals probably due to the larger than average crop load. K5L will be first to be ready for harvest due to its younger age and smaller crop load. with K1 not far behind. I have doubled the irrigation on K1, K2,K3 and K4 from 2 gallons/week to 4 gallons/week starting today to reduce the dehydration and allow these blocks to mature fully. If you have a problem with this let me know. As we get closer to harvest I will taper off the irrigation if the soil moisture starts rising. Photos from the sampling day, some of which show the dehydration.

Samling Dates: --------9/11 ------- 9/24-----------9/24----------9/24

K1 ----- -------------25.0 Brix --- 27.3 Brix. -----6.9g/l T.A. ---3.6 pH

K2U, K3U, K4U --- 23.0 Brix --- 25.6 Brix ------6.2 g/l T.A. --3.7 pH

K2L --- -------------20.7 Brix ----23.6 Brix-------7.5 g/l T.A. --3.5 pH

K3L,K4L ----------- 22.3 Brix ----24.9 Brix ------6.6 g/l T.A. --3.6 pH

K5 ------------------ 23.3 Brix ----27.0 Brix; -----6.15 g/l T.A. -3.7 pH ---The 9/11 sample included K5U+K5L samples while the one today, 9/24 was only the vines budded over to cab in 2005. The vines budded over have shorter cordons and less crop load which is why they are ripening faster.

K6 ------------------ 21.7 Brix ----22.7 Brix -----6.95 g/l T.A. --3.5 pH

9/23/09 Warm day yesterday but not too warm, high of 97F and today 95F.

Below is the soil moisture trend for the season at 24" depth. YOu can see we are holding the soil moisture relatively constant at this depth.

On Thursday 9/17/09 I took bunch weights from a number of locations to increase my confidence in our yield estimates. I have posted the detailed data and analysis on the Konrad Yield page.

On 9/16/09 I took numerous bunch counts throughout the vineyard to estimate this year's yield to for winery production planning purposes.

9/11/09(Friday) Brix Readings taken between 8:00am and 10:00am by M. Holler. Samples taken from two rows, alternating sides, 3 grapes from each vine sampled, top, middle bottom of bunch. Random mix of mid to end of cordon samples. 50-100 berries in sample generally from 4 rows of a block. Berries crushed together and juice mixed. Refractometer used by M.Holler. Refractometer calibration checked with distilled water and 20 Brix ref. Solution.

K1 ----- 25.0 Brix ----- 6.6g/l T.A. -----3.49pH

K2U --- 23.0 Brix

K2L --- 20.7 Brix ------8.2g/l T.A. -----3.34pH

K3U --- 22.9 Brix ------7.05g/l T.A. --- 3.4pH

K4U --- 23.0 Brix

K3L,K4L --- 22.3 Brix -- 7.4g/l T.A. -- 3.36pH

K5 ---- 23.3 Brix

K6 ---- 21.7 Brix -------- 8.15g/l T.A. --3.37pH

K2U, K3U, K4U combined sample data taken by Jeff Fontanella same day 22.9 brix, 3.20 ph, 0.86 TA..

His yield estimate for these 3 blocks comprising 2.18 acres is based on clusters he took from the vineyard on 9/11/09 and measured. This is the data he sent me in an e-mail: " The ave. cluster weight was 128 grams, my average count was 27 clusters per vine. The heaviest weighing in at 320 grams, and the lightest at 55 grams. My previous cluster sample ave was 136 grams. These numbers put us between 7 and 8 tons."

Comments: Block K1 will be the first block to be harvested. It is showing very nice mature flavors on many vines. If you want a preview of what your fruit is going to taste like when its ripe go do a little tasting in this block now. The brix went up by 1.1 to 1.5 Brix in the last 6 days. We should have no problem ripening all the fruit. The water situation is good so we should be able to control dehydration. The upper blocks K2U, K3U, K4U are tracking closely in terms of ripeness all around 23 Brix.

Below you can see we have been in a warming trend for the last week but, that is supposed to come to an end tomorrow.

Brix Sampling 9/5/09 3:00pm. M.Holler

K4U 21.6 Brix

K4L 21.2 Brix

K5 21.8 Brix rows 1-4 at west side of block.

8/28/09 Hottest day so far this year, high was 101.6 degrees F with a relative humidity of 11%. This was anticipated and the vineyard was irrigated in block sequence last night using the newly installed computerized timers starting at 8pm and finishing at noon today. Each vine received 2.4 gallons except for Blocks K2, K3 and K4 lower where valves for the lower sections are closed. A few end vines there aren't getting enough water but, will have to be sacrificed for the greater good. 12,000 gallons were applied to roughly 5200 vines.



Ryan Sherman wrote:

What's been your experience (or Pulidos) controlling vigor on these vines.  It seems like the lower blocks have kept their moisture and with the weather have kept up their vigor... Do they get (our blocks) get more or less water than the other blocks based on weather and/or vine growth.  I'm curious to see berry /cluster size.  I'd like to see some photos when you have time.  We do plan to visit maybe end of Aug first part of Sept.  Is veraison complete, any plans to drop fruit in any of the blocks?  Maybe we can chat in the next few days when you have a moment...Thanks again.  Ryan

I took some photos yesterday and posted them on the Konrad Vineyards Website at 
In looking at the vines specifically in your two blocks toward making a yield estimate I am now thinking 2-2.5tons is probably a better estimate than 2.5-3.0 tons.  Take a look at the pictures and see what you think.  We will be dropping sunburned fruit and fruit that is out of synch with the core of the ripeness distribution in the next week or two. 

This is the first year that Ramon and I have managed this vineyard so we don't have much experience controlling the vigor of these vines.   We just knew that with the old yields of .8 and 1.3 tons/acre they weren't as vigorous as they should be.   The petiole analysis from prior years confirmed that the vines were nitrogen deficient.  We applied calcium nitrate fertilizer at a rate of 1oz./vine to the whole vineyard which is the same volume of nitrate they received the year before.  The latest petiole analysis which we did at bloom after our earlier fertigation showed that the vines are in better shape but K1 and the upper parts of K2 and K3 are still somewhat nitrogen deficient.

Your Blocks, K3L and K4L, lower don't have soil moisture sensors in them but K2L and K5L do and from that data I can say that the lower blocks are retaining more moisture than the upper parts of these blocks.  Nodes 527 and 528 are in blocks K2L and K5L respectively.  We like to operate a little below 150 cBar at 24" depth. 

For this reason we have put valves inline between the upper and lower blocks to shut off irrigation to the lower blocks.  We will have these valves shut off when we fertigate next Spring again.  Our primary approach to controlling vigor in the lower blocks is to restrict the fertilizer and water they get. 

We are doing regulated deficit irrigation which means that we hold off on irrigation until the vines reach a leaf water potential of -13Bar which corresponds to a soil moisture of -150 cBar at 24" depth.  Regulated deficit irrigation is known to keep berry sizes smaller and tannin concentrations higher in the wine.  Take a look at the photos and I think you will see that the berry sizes are relatively small which is our goal.  You can see the status of veraison nicely in the photos. 

Give me a call anytime to talk about your fruit.   You have purchased top quality fruit and we want to make sure that is what you get. 
Mark Holler
P.S.  I am going to post your good questions and my responses in a blog page on the Konrad Vineyards site if you don't mind.  

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