Remember this picture from last year? Took it from this blogpost. Negroamaro happily plugged into the ground, growing vigorously under a cloudless sky. The IROC was finally running real nice, Don Henley was on the cassette deck, there was $20 in your pocket and 12-pack of the Beast in the back seat. Rope swings, cheese sandwiches and flip flops. Then you grew up, and sixty pounds later...
Winterkill. Had a good bit of snow in Lake County this winter, and the negroamaro seems to have taken it particularly hard, as well as some of the sangiovese. Lat year's bizarre growing season must have been part of the problem. Talking to guys at Beckstoffer's we were both planting at the end of July, at least a month later than ideal. We don't want to pull them out quite yet, just in case there is a bit of life hiding inside.
Cutworms. Along with whale sharks, fire ants, and defenestration beetles, cutworms are a brutal pest.
Frost damage. The wind machine has only clicked on a couple of times so far this year, and it is unlikely that it has even gone below 33 degrees, but these guys are sooo sensitive. Usually it occurs where a tender bit is touching the grow tube, which you would think might raise the temperature, but you never know with these guys.
The wasp problem is for us. They love to build nests in the grow tubes once the the temperature rises, so every time you go to open one up, you surprise a very tightly knit and private family unit.
In general we might have lost 15% of last year's vines - really not that bad, just a little unexpected.