Going Organic

It may not escape your attention, but this post is completely out of chronological sequence. My mastery of the WordPress program that generates this website is rudimentary to say the least and I have yet to figure out how to reorder the posts. My “techie” sons are also getting bored of helping me. Anyway, this is about going organic at Thorny Vines which we did around 2014. I have made the...
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2015 and all that

  Apparently I have a reputation for wittering on a bit, and the length of this letter will do nothing to fix that, but 2015 was a pretty eventful year for us. Headed by Alana and Mike’s wedding in September (more about this later), 2015 also marked our 40th wedding anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of our first date. To celebrate our anniversary, we took off to Sparkling Hills...
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Preferred Pickers Update

After a summer of intense heat and almost no rain, the ripening 2015 crop was almost 3 weeks ahead of any previous year we had experienced. There was also no mildew, botrytis (bunch rot) or hail damage to speak of. The small row of Pinot Noir we have adjacent to the road was the first to go. Unlike the Riesling which is governed by all sorts of biodynamic considerations, we decided to pick the...
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Seasons Greetings 2014

Merry Christmas to you all December 24, 2014 Each year I seem to go through a phase of dreading the writing of the annual Christmas letter, and attempt to persuade Ann that it is her turn for a change. She predictably counters with the suggestion that she will be happy to oblige if I take over more responsibility for cooking, shopping, laundry and, in particular, cleaning the house. Somehow it...
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Santa has been and gone

  It may not have escaped your attention that what follows relates to Christmas 2013, and not 2014. As I sit down to try and scratch something together before having to write a Christmas letter for 2014 (always assuming there is lots to write about) I have included our annual Christmas letter for 2013 partly as a sort of record of some of the things that have been going in since the last...
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The good the bad and the bunch-rot

As we moved into the 4th year of the vines the basic lesson we got was that whatever you learned last year is probably irrelevant because weather conditions are infuriatingly inconsistent. The season started with near-perfect growing conditions (although this also applies to weeds, wasps, fruit flies and cut-worms as well as grapes), and this lasted well into August. Then the rains started,...
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Now is the winter of our discontent

Shakespeare would have had a field day living in the Okanagan. You can pretty much complain about all the winters here. Winter is supposed to start officially on December 21 being the shortest day of the year, but with all the festivities surrounding Christmas and New Year, nobody here takes winter seriously until at least January 1st.  However, with the Mayan debacle behind and a new calendar...
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Harvest and Fall 2012

What follows covers the fall and the period up to Christmas. Aside from an unusual amount of snow in  the last week or so we have had pretty decent fall weather with more than our fair share of sunny days (which is not actually a great number) and above average temperatures. This followed a good summer and all in all 2012 has turned out to be a record year for growers in the Okanagan. Despite...
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Summer’s End 2012

For the technically minded it is still summer, it just doesn’t feel like it, and the pool in particular is not for the faint of heart like myself. Ann will persevere though; on the principle that once you have been through child-birth you can handle anything. I don’t particularly want to do either.   We have had a good summer this year so we can’t complain. The grapes appear to be...
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Spring 2012 Update

It’s unlikely that many will have noticed that I have not updated this blog since around Christmas. Just so you know my weight bloomed to new heights during the festivities, and this made manoeuvring around the vineyard an uncomfortable, if not dangerous, proposition as I had a tendency to tip over when bending down to attend the vines. It all got a bit too much, and I finally decided to do...
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