My first harvest and my first infestation
After consulting with my vine supplier, it was determined that the mystery vine was merely the rootstock pushing through the graft, and the Syrah that was grafted on top simply did not take. I was told my options were: - Graft my own Syrah onto the rootstock, a whole new can of worms - Have the supplier send me a new rootstock in the spring and move my “extra” 25th vine onto the row when the vines go to sleep, meanwhile pulling out the rootstock.
I opted for number 2.
The supplier saw the pictures posted here and stressed that I should remove all of my fruit since this is the vines’ first year and the fruit will stress out the young vines. I relented, mostly, and had my first harvest. I left three of the juiciest fruits on three vines, because these vines are doing very well.
Since the two rows of vines fit 24 vines and the minimum order was 25, I ended up placing one vine further up the hill as an experimental vine. I did not prune any buds and I didn’t intend on supporting it with a trellis. Rather I was going to head train it, goblet-style, just to get some experience doing it that way. In propping up Vine 25, I noticed some leaves were pretty brown and delicate. I thought perhaps they simply were getting a little too much water in that corner, since the neighbor’s water from atop the hill tends to permeate that whole side.
Upon further inspection, I discovered that there was an army of caterpillars mowing the leaf and crawling along that one shoot. I trimmed that shoot and could only see the infestation there. I then found several other smaller infestations on other vines. I also saw some leaf-hopper or sharpshooters, as well as some larvae. Here comes the sharpshooter infestation. They sometimes spread the dreaded Pierce’s disease, which will eventually kill the vines.
So I am looking into organic methods to keep my vines alive, other than manually picking all the bugs off.