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• Our sister site:
   MelonDeBourgogne.com
• Another sister site:
   Isletage.com
 
Location: Lat: 47.6745, Long: -122.5313, Alt: 163ft Click here for overhead views. Click here for interactive Google map.
If you're interested in how these winegrapes reached the Puget Sound AVA, you can read about it at PSWG.org, Puget Sound Winegrape History. Our soil is "Alderwood very gravelly sandy loam, 6 to 15 percent slopes" with "restrictive feature: 20 to 40 inches to dense material" from USDA soil survey.

From Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle, when you look across Puget Sound, our vineyard is exactly 6 miles as the crow files, due West, immediately over the hillside of Bainbridge. From the Seattle downtown waterfront, say Pike Place Market, looking straight out across Puget Sound, we're just over the hillside you see at between the "one thirty" to "two o'clock" position.

Our vineyard was established on Bainbridge Island in 2004. In December 2003, we purchased a 3.6 acre property that has a wonderful south-facing slope, with a small cleared area and a few hundred small Noble Fir trees in mediocre condition. The previous owners had sold Christmas trees from the property for about 15 years as the Page/Almouela farm.

We have a rose plant at the end of each grapevine row for many reasons (do ask next time you're at the vineyard)... See our row end roses page for details on the plants themselves.

In Spring 2004, we planted 4 rows of 25 plants each, all of Melon de Bourgogne (UCD Clone #2), purchased from Inland Desert Nursery in Prosser, WA. Humorously, this was actually more MdB plants than in all of WA state combined at that time. [Note: still true today, Spring 2008] [Note: and still true today, Summer 2010]

In November 2004, we invited friends to come and take a Christmas tree, and accepted payment as donations for several local charities. The following Spring (2005), we then cleared the remaining Christmas trees, and planted this newly cleared area to a variety of different grapes; another 250 MdB, plus Siegerrebe, Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Castor (a Muscat), and Reislaner. Also Schoenburger on several different rootstocks from Cloud Mountain Farm in Everson, WA.

Spring 2008, we have cleared and are in the process of planting the hillside immediately below our vineyard, on city-owned property known as the "Morales" parcel. This property was bought in open-space bond and is reserved for agricultural use. We will be working about a half acre, expecting about 400 new plants. These will all be MdB.

Summer 2010: Quick list of changes: Castor has been removed (never ripened), Trousseau Gris has taken it's place. The New 1/2 acre of additional MdB and 1/2 acre of Sieg are doing great, but have another year to go before cropping. We're planning on clearing the remaining trees and extending the vineyard next to our home in order to plant reds, some Zweigelt but mostly Pinot Noir.

(Images are in reverse chronological order -- newest first for ease of returning visitors.)
(Click on image for 400x300, click on text for 1600x1200)
Winter 2013
Mike standing on Morales hillside. Pruning in this area had not started yet. The occasional light-green ribbon tape on the top wire indicates a plant that I had to hand water all 2013 - lotta work lugging buckets up and down the hillside...
Panoramic view (780kB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Driveway between Perennial Vintners vineyard and leased Morales hillside. If you look carefully you can see a fine layer of frost on the black plastic deer fencing.
Panoramic view (2.2mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Mike standing in PV's own vineyard, almost looks false-colored due to strange fog background. We were about a third finished pruning this block at this time. Our weather station is visible.
Panoramic view (2.5mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Mike and visiting pruner Kimberlee Adams are watching the camera set up. We're standing on the Bentryn property where I'm leasing a half acre for Siegerrebe grapes. Visible are BIVW's Pinot Noir and Akio Suyematsu's raspberries, the latter is the source for our Frambelle dessert wine. The box on a post is for birds who nest here and help by eating bugs that would otherwise plague the nearby irrigation ponds.
Panoramic view (2.3mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Mike and Kimberlee again at Mike's Siegerrebe block on the Bentryn Property. The plastic tents in the distance are part of several fields on the island in use by Butler Green Farms.
Panoramic view (2.3mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Mike and Kimberlee again, this time near the old red water tower and the Suyematsu Farm sales shed. (Yes, Mike got a call and is talking on the cell phone.) We're standing next to the two rows of Madeleine Angevine which had been pruned at this point, and the other grapes to the north are the Müller Thurgau, where we spent the rest of the day working. There's a couple of pumpkins on the ground left over from the Autumn season, and one old plum tree in the vineyard.
Panoramic view (2.8mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
Mike showing Kimberlee how to prune in the Müller Thurgau. Be sure to look up, you can see the fog line directly above us!
Panoramic view (2.4mB). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken, 17-Jan-2013, Garret Veley)
 

Sorry for lack of time to post images from late 2010 through 2012 -- we've got some, I just haven't managed the time to post 'em...

Summer 2010
Siegerrebe plant before shoot thinning.
(full size image 129Kb) (Taken, 01-Jul-2010, MikeL)
Same plant after shoot thinning. The shoots I've pulled are laying on the ground in front.
(full size image 140Kb) (Taken, 01-Jul-2010, MikeL)
Winter 2010
Looking due south towards the Morales farm. Although it looks like snow, it's just a serious layer of frost, you can see where it's melted in grass in the foreground. The grapevines have been long dormant at this point, so it's not a problem.
(full size image 443Kb) (Taken, 27-Dec-2009, MikeL)
Sun shining through the frosted evergreens on the Morales property.
(full size image 455Kb) (Taken, 27-Dec-2009, MikeL)
Looking up from the bottom of the Morales slope. Note the frost stops part way up the hill, clearly showing the cooler frost pocket on the valley floor.
(full size image 452Kb) (Taken, 27-Dec-2009, MikeL)
Closeup of frost on the deer fence at the bottom of the Morales slope.
(full size image 464Kb) (Taken, 27-Dec-2009, MikeL)
Closeup of dormant grapevines with frost layer.
(full size image 423Kb) (Taken, 27-Dec-2009, MikeL)
Summer 2009
[Note: posted in Mar-2011]
Visitors getting the tour and grape-growing lecture in the vineyard. (Yes, it's the same group above and below on the hillside -- these multi-image panoramas are a lot of fun to make!) Camera is in the center of the Morales hillside. Our guests were: Kathryn and Jeff Tillotson, James Patterson, Angela Mansfield.

(640x320 1.2Mb). (1280x640 4.5Mb). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken May-2009, Garret Veley)

Spring 2009
Looking NW from the SE corner, across the vineyard. Many shoots are at the first catchwire.
(full size image 740Kb) (Taken, 11-Jun-2009, MikeL)
Looking due east across the bottom of the vineyard. The new rose plants at the bottom of the rows are opening up.
(full size image 760Kb) (Taken, 11-Jun-2009, MikeL)
Grapevine before flowering. The inflorences will become flowers, which will in turn become grapes.
(full size image 670Kb) (Taken, 11-Jun-2009, MikeL)
Grapevine flowering. This plant is way ahead of the others as it is a rootstock plant (not a fruit producer), "Schwartzman". From my experiences to date, this is an excellent choice for advancing Pinot Noir ripening in the PS AVA.
(full size image 703Kb) (Taken, 11-Jun-2009, MikeL)
Weeding the Morales slope. If you've followed us closely, you may be aware that last Fall we bought "annual rye" for our cover crop for this hillside; turns out we should have asked for "winter rye". The annual rye is like normal old turf grass unlike winter rye which is coarse and shallow rooted. It was a serious struggle to get this out of the field. In this photo we're about 2/3 across the field (we started on the left.)
(full size image 670Kb) (Taken, 26-Apr-2009, Beth)
Winter 2009
A lovely shot of the vineyard with a touch of sun and a touch of snow.
(full size image 438Kb) (Taken, 09-Feb-2009)
Autumn 2008
Just a quick few words about this year. Although this was the latest starting ripening season the Puget Sound AVA has ever known, we got good weather later on, which continued on very late into the year (our final harvest was 30-Oct -- latest ever), thus making up for a lot.

Our new planting on the City-owned Morales parcel (see below) was quite successful. Of 387 plants put into the ground in Spring, 72 didn't make it, for a total success rate of 81%; not great, but not bad either. We also had a serious frost event 2nd weekend Oct, the effects are visible on the lower plants in the image. This was an unusually early event, though if we see it again in future years, we'll probably replant the lower portion of the hill to an earlier ripening variety like Siegerrebe.
(full size image 306Kb) (Taken, 14-Oct-2008, Mike's cellphone)

Summer 2008
Taken from the Suyematsu Farm pumpkin patch at the crest of the hill. Our block of Muller Thurgau to the left (NW) along Day Road; BIVW Siegerrebe to South; Madeleine Angevine in distance to the East across from berry shed. (840x448 3.2Mb). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken 08-Jul-2008, Garret Veley)
Ellis and I are sitting in the middle of our Melon de Bourgogne planting on the Morales property on a really nice warm evening in July (840x524 2.2Mb). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken 08-Jul-2008, Garret Veley)

Ellis and I are standing in the middle of our Melon de Bourgogne planting in our yard on a really nice warm evening in July (840x524 2.2Mb). (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken 08-Jul-2008, Garret Veley)
Spring 2008
Mike planting Siegerrebe in our new block on the Bentryn property at the Day Road farm. This is about 1/2 acre, consisting of about 350 plants.
(Taken, 01-Jun-2008, Omie Kerr)
Beth and Ellis planting same Siegerrebe block.
(Taken, 01-Jun-2008, Omie Kerr)
Mike scoring the field to mark where the plants will be. This wonderful tool was made by a longtime Bainbridge farmer, who gave it to Akio, who in turn, gave it to Betsey. A simple and clean design, and very effective -- the way all tools should be! (full size image 231Kb)
(Taken, 28-May-2008, Hilary Crowell, Mike's cellphone)
Mike now digging the plant holes. (full size image 170Kb)
(Taken, 30-May-2008, Hilary Crowell, Mike's cellphone)
Over two weekends we planted the Morales hillside immediately downhill from our existing vineyard. This is about 2/3 acre, planted at slightly higher density than we've typically used, all in Melon de Bourgogne. This photo is just after we'd finished planting. Since then we've erected a plastic mesh deer fence around it. For a "before" photo, see below under "Fall 2007, Nice view of the vineyard". (full size image 432Kb)
(Taken, 21-May-2008, Mike's cellphone)
Betsey approaching on one of Akio's old Farmall tractors. Betsey dug the initial furrow this way saving us a lot of digging. (full size image 288Kb)
(Taken, 18-May-2008, Mike's cellphone)
Winter 2008
Zwiegelt plant leafing out. This is the furthest advanced plant in the vineyard at this time. This has been a very cold Spring -- in a normal year, we would expect to see 6 inches of shoot growth by now, yet here you can see we're just past the "mouse ear" stage. There is one MdB at about the same stage, but the majority of the other 349 are still at "mouse ear". (full size image 390Kb)
(Taken, 13-May-2008, MikeL)
This is the newly cleared area on the Morales parcel. The photo was taken standing on the Morales property, overlooking John Chang's CSA planting. The new area is below, our existing vineyard can be discerned by the post above the driveway. (full size image 416Kb)
(Taken 13-May-2008, MikeL)
Closer view of the Morales slope we'll be planting in the next few weeks. This is quite steep; it was scary running the tractor on it to do the clearing, subsoiling and rototilling. (full size image 432Kb)
(Taken 10-May-2008, MikeL)
This cleared are in the foreground was in raspberries last Autumn at the Suyematsu/Bentryn farm. Akio pulled them out, and we'll be planting Siegerrebe here in the next few weeks. In the background you can see one of Brian McWhorter's Butler Farms CSA plantings. (full size image 395Kb)
(cellphone camera, 05-May-2008, MikeL)
Here's a lovely shot of the Melon vineyard with mist rising as the sun came out after a rain. This was a very brief sun appearance this April. (full size image 395Kb)
(cellphone camera, 18-Apr-2008, MikeL)
As mentioned in previous (below) -- this has been a very weird winter -- here's that same cherry branch 3 weeks later, still in full bloom. Normally this would have been past weeks ago. (full size image 269Kb)
(Taken 10-May-2008, MikeL)
This has been a very weird winter -- very dry in Jan-Feb, now it's snowing in mid-Apr! (Note the white cherry blossoms on the branch.) (full size image 395Kb)
(Taken 18-Apr-2008, MikeL)
Ellis weeding under the vineyard -- Nigel kitty is helping out (he's a Maine Coon cat) (full size image 316Kb)
(Taken 10-Apr-2008, MikeL cellphone camera)
Our neighbor Gerard Bentryn with his Kubota helping out with a serious stump removal project. (full size image 264Kb)
(Taken 13-Apr-2008, MikeL cellphone camera)
New irrigation system being installed for the Müller Thurgau (full size image 307Kb)
(Taken 21-Feb-2008, MikeL cellphone camera)
Continuous panorama of pruning Madeleine Angevine on a very nice January day (1000x700 4.5Mb) (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken ?-Jan-2008, Garret Veley)
Continuous panorama of pruning Müller Thurgau, same January day (1000x700 3.3Mb) (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken ?-Jan-2008, Garret Veley)
Continuous panorama of our own vineyard, same Januaary day (1000x700 3.2Mb) (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken ?-Jan-2008, Garret Veley)
Fall 2007
(full size image 389Kb)
We had a brief snow that turned into a mass of rain which completely flooded our driveway. (I was too busy digging trenches to take pictures of the flood.) Looking due South from the top of the vineyard just after sunset -- a car is visible just pulling into the driveway.
(Taken 01-Dec-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 442Kb)
We had a lovely Fall afternoon a few weeks back where I walked around and took a few pictures of the vineyard. Looking due South from the top middle, standing in the lawn.
(Taken 30-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 448Kb)
Looking ESE across the upper vineyard headland from the top NW corner.
(Taken 30-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 459Kb)
Looking ESE through the vines from the middle west edge.
(Taken 30-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 407Kb)
Fantastic sunset with the last corner of the vineyard illuminated and bright orange clouds.
(Taken 30-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 431Kb)
Nice view of the vineyard. You can see where I've done some manual clearing on the slope below the vineyard in hopes of my expanding into that area next Spring. You can also tell the 4 rows in the center that are the original planting.
Photo taken from the farm property below us (COBI "Morales" parcel). (Taken 16-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 470Kb)
Looking sideways through the Melon de Bourgogne.
(Taken 16-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 445Kb)
Closeup of young plants. These were 1 year old plants from the nursery, put into the ground in 2006. You can see we've pruned back most of the extra wood so as to train up a single strong trunk. This closeup lets you see our irrigation system (T-Tape -- the black stripe), and a line of dolomite lime (white powder) applied after harvest. You can also see that we've established a lush green Winter cover crop of annual rye. We are very careful when spreading the seeds to keep them in the aisles, so as to make it easier to weed under the plants next Spring when we till in this cover crop.
(Taken 16-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 459Kb)
Looking upwards across the Melon de Bourgogne. Our house is visible at the top center.
(Taken 16-Nov-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 432Kb)
Looking NW across the vineyard. This area is the "experimental" block with several different varieties planted. The immediate first row is mostly rootstock plants so that we can do our own rootstock propogation in the future. You can see one particular plant is still holding onto it's leaves, event though the others have all dropped -- I think that's the Schwartzman rootstock.
(Taken 16-Nov-2007, MikeL)
Continuous panorama of Madeleine Angevine harvest (800x500 1.5Mb) (1200x800 12.1Mb) (You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.)
(Taken 28-Sep-2007, Garret Veley)
Summer 2007
(full size image 399Kb)
Note clean cultivation -- the bare dirt keeps vineyard temperatures much warmer than would a grass or weed vineyard floor.
Photo taken from Lovgren Rd. just downhill from the vineyard. (Taken 12-Sep-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 433Kb)
Leaf pulling -- we remove most of the leaves immediately around the grape clusters which helps the grapes to warm in the sun, which dries them out helping prevent molding, and allowing sprays to penetrate better.
(Taken 16-Aug-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 425Kb)
Our new "Pesticide Free Zone" sign! This is a voluntary self-policing endorsement.
(Taken 02-Aug-2007, MikeL)
(full size image 448Kb)
Catchwires with vertical shoots tucked in between them. Red clip visible that holds wires together.
(Taken 10-Jul-2007, MikeL)


Spring 2007.

Continuous panoramic view of Müller Thurgau vineyard (600x375 880Kb) (1200x800 5.4Mb)
Mike and crew are shoot thinning on a nice day in June.
(This thing is so cool! Use mouse on image to swivel view 360 degrees; you can look up and down too!)
(You'll need Apple's QuickTime to view it.) (Taken 03-Jun-2007, Garret Velley)
Melon de Bourgogne plant pre-shoot thinning (full size image 462Kb)
(Taken 18-May-2007, MikeL)
after shoot thinning (full size image 460Kb)
(Taken 18-May-2007, MikeL)
Betsey Wittick on tractor applying Spring emergent spray -- all organic (full size image 462Kb)
(Taken 29-May-2007, MikeL)
Beth in distance, shoot thinning Melon (full size image 448Kb)
(Taken 18-May-2007, MikeL)
Beth in row, shoot thinning Melon (full size image 458Kb)
(Taken 18-May-2007, MikeL)
Flower clusters coming out (full size image 396Kb)
(Taken 18-May-2007, MikeL)


12-Apr-2007: Winter 2007
Ellis planting cuttings into nursery block (full size image 435Kb)
(Taken 01-Apr-2007, MikeL)
Mike weeding Melon through trees (full size image 466Kb)
(Taken 01-Apr-2007, Ellis)
Making cuttings of Melon de Bourgogne (full size image 681Kb)
I spent many hours sitting on that milk crate in Feb-Mar. The winery floor is covered with sticks which I'm cutting into 4-5 node sections to make new plants. Note uncut sticks in foreground, cut sticks around the milk crate, and many buckets of cut&bundled sticks to the rear. These sticks are now in a nursery block (see above Apr), and will be transfered to final place in 2008, first crop 2010. (Taken 28-Feb-2007, MikeL, cellphone)
Ellis doing winter pruning (full size image 263Kb) Ellis in the vineyard pruning and training last years Melon plants. (Taken 20-Feb-2007, MikeL, cellphone)


30-Nov-2006: It's been a busy year... 2006
The first 4 rows planted (see below) of Melon de Bourgogne
They're in full bush, taken 23-Aug. Note that the topmost plants are somewhat smaller due to insufficient irrigation pressure -- 2006 was a dry year!
(full size image 421Kb) Vineyard in the snow from Lovgreen Rd. Beth, our son Ellis, and our deer protection dog Rough. We walked down the driveway to get the mail and the paper since our driveway was impassible...

Again this year, we've leased one-half acre of Müller Thurgau grapevines from our neighbor, Bainbridge Island Vineyard and Winery. We harvested about 2 tons, yielding about 170 gallons. (full size image 424Kb) This is our block seen in the snow from across the Suyematsu farm pumpkin patch. (full size image 429Kb) Looking through our block in the snow.


28-Jun-2005: We took delivery of a new Kubota tractor this weekend -- now we really feel like a farm! We drilled all the postholes for the entire vineyard (132 of 'em!), and dropped the poles into place, though have not gotten them all seated yet (which is why they look crooked in the photos).
Beth driving our new tractor Vineyard seen from SR-305 & Lovgren Rd. intersection

23-May-2004: Now that I've done some clearing of the Scotch Broom from along our driveway, our newly planted vineyard is visible from the main highway.
This is the intersection at Lovgren Road & SR-305..

13-May-2004: Our vineyards:
The house came with an existing vineyard. We don't know it's exact history, but we can state unequivocably that it has been ignored for about 20 years as there are trees growing through of that age. We believe the plants are Muller Thurgau.
At this writing we have no plans to work this area as there are a lot of trees that would have to be removed. Perhaps we'll be looking into it in 2006.
Bottom of vineyard, before clearing Top of vineyard, after some clearing
Another portion of the property was previously a Christmas tree farm. This was left by the previous owner with a large cleared area in the middle, just big enough for 100 grapevines on 7' rows.
Beth and I both adore the French Muscadet wine from the Melon de Bourgogne winegrape. We had made wine from this grape before, from a very small plot in Sunnyside (eastern WA), and loved the wine.

A little research showed that the area in France (near Nantes) where this wine comes from, is a similar maritime climate to our Puget Sound basin. We felt that in the more appropriate cooler-climate Puget Sound AVA we could make an even better wine! So I asked around the wine community about getting some plants, and found that Inland Desert Nursery in Prosser, WA had 102 plants they'd love to sell me!

Ellis with the Melon plants right out of the shipping box Plants stuffed into the ground after arrival until vineyard prepped Ellis standing in bare area before vineyard
Our neighbor Akio helping pull down a few trees with his tractor before "subsoiling" Ellis and I putting in the first plant (Beth taking picture) All plants in (no posts or deer fence yet)

06-Jan-2004:
Our Christmas trees, soon to be vineyard. This was taken from the top of the hill looking down.
(Update May-2005: The cluster of overgrown Christmas trees in the upper center and 8 of the tall trees to the left have been removed to bring in full-day sunlight.)


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