Ag Life: Arrival of spring keeping vineyard workers busy

Ag Life

With the arrival of spring, workers at local wineries are keeping busy both in the vineyard and in the tasting room.

Buds are starting to pop up on some of the vines at Beliveau Estate Winery in Montgomery County. It’s just one sign that spring has arrived.

“This is the time of year when all of our plants are starting to wake up, things are starting to move,” said Derek Gassler, winemaker and vineyard manager.

Workers have been pruning vines over the past few weeks, Gassler said, but that process started later than usual. A late frost last spring hurt some vines in the area, he explained, so this year they delayed pruning to avoid any damage if there’s another late frost.

“Grapes grow kind of in a really special way,” Gassler said. “They grow at the ends of the plant first. So if you leave them really long, they’ll grow way down here at the end before they kind of grow at the bottom and to the part you’re really worried about.”

At the winery, his team also sees a significant boost in business with the warm weather, he said. Beginning in the spring, the winery hosts more events and brings on extra staff, he added.

“We start hiring out some more part-timers to fulfill the demand,” Gassler said. “Not only are we farmers that live and die by the weather, but we’re an agricultural business that lives and dies by the weather.”

The grapes on the vineyard will be ready to harvest in the fall, typically starting the second week of September, Gassler said.

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