September 26, 2010

Vineyard layout and plotting

After making an initial survey of the island, the choice of where to put the vineyard wasn't too hard.  We decided to place it nearer to the landing, and in the relative middle of the width of the island.

We brought a surveying transit with us to aid in the layout of the vineyard.  We also brought a compass, a GPS, and a nice quantity of string.  Determing the direction of North was actually a bit of a process.  Normally, it would be easy to line up with a North/South or East/West road.  But there aren't any roads easily visible because of the trees around the island.  Thus, I used the compass and the GPS.  I plotted a waypoint in the GPS, and tied a string to a stake at that point to help determine our north south edge line.  Melissa helped hold a string taut, and we walked to where the GPS told us our bearing (towards the first point) was at the degrees we wanted.

Reading an article about vineyard layout, and not being encumbered with any previous fields or roads, I was interested enough to try out a slightly different row alignment.  There's lots of debates about row alignment, but I liked the idea/data that this article presented.  In the more northerly climes, it is beneficial to tilt your North South row alignment.  This is because the east facing grapes get the morning sun, and stay warmer throughout the day.  A name for this is thermal momentum.  So, I'm interested to see if it makes the grapes ripen in a more consistent manner, or if anyone would even be able to notice.

I decided to tilt the North/South rows 11.25° (one eighth of 90°) to the West of North.  I thought ⅛ would be a nice figure since we are starting with ⅛ of an acre.  I had previously done some math and determined the angles and lengths we wanted for our rows.  I wanted to go with staggered rows in a kind of parallelogram, to follow the edge of the island.  It's nice to have our own land so we can do whatever crazy stuff we want.

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