I love grapevines! It is common knowledge among those closest to me, that I can kill an artificial Plant! Additionally, I have been known to kill a few cactus, bamboo, bermuda grass and once, a hackberry tree! Fortunately, I have had some luck with grapes. Meet Syrah. She survived a year in my home vineyard, and hopefully, she will give a little fruit this year.
A few weeks back, my friend the Road Dawg sent me a message that one of my favorite wineries were pruning Sangiovese. As I hurriedly dressed, ate breakfast, showered and got in my car while calling ahead to see if I could get a few canes, the thought of growing my favorite...yes, I know, I am a Syrah fanatic, grape was too exciting! Finally, canes that I knew I could root. My yard would be the vineyard that I always wanted. Sangiovese grows well in the hot valley climate, and this would be a good year to root the canes. This was going to be fun, and with my growing history, I was sure that at least half of the canes would not root...so I thought.
The winery was more than happy to allow me to grab as many canes as I could haul away. I met the vineyard manager, and he instructed me on how to root for the best results, which canes were the healthiest, and how to trellis the vines once they took root. This was not knew information, but every grape grower has their own way of doing the job. The canes had barely hit the ground as I gathered them up. I noticed that the buds on many were nearly sprouted. The manager assured me that they would be fine. He did not lie.
Driving home, I stopped at my favorite hardware store to pick up a few more pots, potting soil and playground sand. I do a mixture of 70 percent soil to 30 percent sand. When mixed, it looks like crushed up Oreo cookies. I got home and began the process of cutting the canes into growable sections. Two buds down, five or more up. As I cut, I could see that the vines were lush and healthy. The pith...the center of the inner workings of the vines where the sugars and nutrients lie dormant until they are ready to sprout new arms on the host vine was uniform and beautifully colored a rich earthy brown. I cut and cut until it became clear that I had too many cuttings! Not to worry, half will never take root right?
I filled 28 pots with vines! Sangiovese is coming out of my ears. Worse, it is budding all over the place! The canes that I did not think would grow began to sprout on my patio! The canes that were too small to root...rooted...weeks later! What to do? I had vines that I thought had surely dried out sprouting everywhere. This was unreal...where is my killing spree of the past?, I can't grow this many vines. Not to mention, the zinfandel from Santa Rosa that I had given up on...the one that looked dead...it sprouted! The Syrah the Road Dawg and I "borrowed" from a vineyard that looked like no one loved it...sprouted! Still waiting to see if we get the Pinot or the Cabernet, but I have vines all over the place! Yes, there will be a vineyard, and my neighbors, unbeknownst to them, they get vines as well! I'm going to plant them along the fence for the squirrels and birds....yeah right, let one of them touch my precious Sangiovese. Can you say BB gun?
A stroke of genius overtook me as I ran out of pots to root the canes in. Solution? Mix the remaining soil with the remaining sand in the same bag and stick all of the leftover canes in the mix in the bag. Oh, Lord. Every single one of these canes rooted! There must be at least 50-75 canes in this bag. What am I going to do? My yard is only a fifth of an acre. Grape growers plant 100 vines to an acre. I already have five vines from last year. My plan was to only grow 30 this year. My killing streak is definitely over. Somebody help!
Sangiovese vines...free to good home!