Vineyard Update: Just Keep Digging

Vineyard Update: Just Keep Digging

  • Harvest To Bottle

Just in case harvest wasn’t enough to keep the team busy, there are about half a dozen other construction projects on the go right now as the winery continues to expand — if the winery is making more wine, that means the winery also needs a bigger crush pad, a bigger tasting room, a bigger patio…and a bigger vineyard. 

When looking out onto the current state of the vineyard, it’s hard to miss all the tractors and the big hole right in the middle. With the recent fall rains the hole is starting to kind of look like…a pond? So, what’s going on? 

Well, looks can be deceiving, but in this case, they are accurate — the hole that looks like a pond, is going to be a pond. We had a chance to catch up with Mike to chat about the ongoing construction at the winery and why the creation of this pond is of importance to the overall approach to biodiversity and sustainability on the vineyard. 

Not that this a surprise to anyone, but weather can be unpredictable, and a big reason why wine making is so challenging. You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature and whatever she throws at you year after year. Water management is something Mike has been conscious of since he started the winery, which is why when you walk through the vineyard you will notice swales. The upper vineyard is raised about ten feet higher than the lower vineyard, so that creates a situation where the water flows from the upper vineyard into the lower vineyard and causes flooding. The swales have helped manage and prevent this from occurring, so the introduction of the pond was the natural next step. 

The pond is being placed where there is already a natural dip in the vineyard, and water already gathers (Mike’s tractor has been stuck there one too many times), so the placement was pre-determined. The pond will help ensure Traynor has water to work with in the seasons that it gets really dry in Prince Edward County. There have been seasons where the County hasn’t seen a drop of rain from April to August and the winery has had to irrigate the plants because the leaves start to fall off them from lack of water. Having a body of water on site helps with any future situations like this, keeping the vines healthy, and creating a more sustainable system within the vineyard itself — plus the pond will be pretty to look at with a glass of wine in hand.  

A secondary reason for the pond is to create some thermal mass on the vineyard to combat frost in the early spring. This gives somewhere for the cold air to slide into and helps prevent possible damage or issues caused by frost early in the season. Some wineries use fans or wind machines to help keep the air moving to prevent frost, or in some regions go as extreme as helicopters flying above the vineyard — so the pond is again, a more sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. 

So, when will this part of the project be finished? The truth is: it will get done when it gets done. With all major projects, there are always some surprises you can’t predict, like the density of the rock that needs to be conquered to complete the pond. 

Either way, get familiar with the sight of the crew on the vineyard — there are lots of projects happening as the winery expands, including another three acres of Chardonnay just behind the pond. More on that in the coming months. 

It’s an amazing time to give the winery a visit and check out the ever-changing grapes on the vines. Check out @traynorvineyards on social for real-time updates and details about how you can visit.