The Latest from Hilliard Management

Despite the tough weather our team has been making efficient use of the frozen ground and continued work on a vineyard project. Currently we’re building a trellis system for a 4 acre expansion that builds on an initial 5 acre block that was installed last year. Weather aside, this is a challenging project because of the unique layout. For a successful vineyard you need to plant where the good dirt is – and in this case that meant the top of a hill, and this hill curves. With the help of the vineyard’s consultant, Jake Busching, we came up with a plan for some creative bracing that maintains the necessary row / post spacing for vine growth and maintenance. 

After the vineyard is complete we’ll be back to install +/- 3,000 of deer fence around the new vineyard block. Crop damage from wildlife is one of the biggest challenges Virginia vintners face today. Deer fence is not an inexpensive investment, but it is a valuable insurance policy. Similar to the trellis layout of this project, we’ve had to work through the best ways to balance function, maintenance requirements, and aesthetics (nobody really wants to install a deer fence, so when possible we try to blend it into its surroundings).

All of this, of course, leads to a topic that is never far from our mind – ensuring the long-term viability of a project. Vineyards require a lot of maintenance, so during the planning stages of this project it’s been important to evaluate the ongoing requirements for the vines, trellis system, and deer fence. Since we will be responsible for the maintenance and mowing of this vineyard we’re in a good position to plan how much spacing is required for tractors and mowers, while still maximizing efficiency and keeping operation costs down for our clients. Similarly the vineyard manager needs proper access and spacing to spray, harvest, and care for the vines, so we collaborate with the management team during the layout of both the trellis and the fence to make sure they have everything they need.

Check back for more on how this project is progressing, as well as information on other vineyard projects. As Virginia wine continues to gain recognition we’ve been receiving calls from lots of landowners who are establishing or expanding vineyards, and we’re excited to continue playing a supporting role as this growth industry reaches new heights in the Commonwealth.