Last week some friends/customers (Bryants) from Lincoln shared a new term with me “wine-osaurs”. That’s what their friend group at the Roca winery call themselves. Their words were, “We’re old and we like wine, thus we call ourselves wine-osaurs”. 😊 Wine-osaurs could be considered Boomers and Late Boomers. I guess that includes me. Hey! I’m a wine-osaur too, how about you?


February just passed and it was unusually warm, with daytime temps running in the 60’s and 70’s.  Many nights were also above freezing and that concerns me as a Nebraska vintner.  That kind of warmth sends the wrong signals to Nebraska’s vines.  They begin to think spring has arrived, then, the sap starts to flow through the wood; then the buds begin to swell and then, BAM, you get a hard freeze and some of your vines get caught with sap in their wood and they split their trunk.  

(dormant grape twig bud)

Trunk splits happen primarily to our DeChaunac, which are hardy to -10°F.  At least a small bit of DeChaunac goes into our Workhorse. Thus, it is an important grape/ingredient for our #1 selling wine, Workhorse.

Early bud break is more likely to occur in late March/April, when sap typically begins to flow. The buds swell as the nutrient rich sap flows through the vines. If the February temps persist into March/April and the buds break and growth pushes through that protective tissue;  Then, Nebraska can loose crop quality grapes and yields. For once the first set of leaves are exposed to the mother nature and she freezes; you lose 50% of your yield with that first killing late spring frost.

Grapes have three growth points in a bud, but the third point, only produces a vine, not fruit.  So, what I’m saying is these warm temps are nice for us getting outdoor jobs completed, but I’d rather need a winter coat thru mid-March.

Here at Miletta Vista, we like to finish pruning ahead of spring sap flow, but with our busy schedule at Miletta Vista, that’s pretty rare.  Thus, this time of year, an elevated sense of urgency rises to finish pruning. 


The first thing that comes to mind when you say Grape Borer to me?  Nemesis – my long-standing rival in the vineyard.

When we are pruning, we sometimes notice holes in our vines (see below).  The cordon is the primary branch going left and right at the top of the trunk. Borer holes tell you something tunneled into and ate the pith.  This destructive event reduces sap flow.  Thus, reducing grape yields, then cordons must be replaced with a new branch and an intact shoot to again reach full potential. Below is an image of that vineyard nemesis, the grape twig borer.

The holes are made by an insect a cane borer.  For me the borer has been a perpetually, pesky, archenemy, a pesky critter.  So, I called my friend Ed Swanson for help, (a 2nd time in as many months).  Ed has forgotten more about vineyards and wine making than I’ll ever know.  Ed reminded me that when the temps are in the 60’s and 70’s such as last December, and again this February, the borer complete another life-cycle and come out of the wood hungry for more and bore again.

I typically burn the cuttings after we’re completely done pruning, but last year was so dry and windy, there was never a good day to burn those clippings. I really didn’t want to be the reason for a wild fire, the borer or no borer. So, they summered and wintered in that old wood.    We noticed that vines within 100 feet or so of last year’s cutting pile saw the worst winter infestation. Evidence of what Ed was saying.

So, this week, I burned that pile of last year’s wood along with what we’ve pruned thus far in 2024.  That particular Wednesday was calm, so I got my burn permit and lit the match and stayed close with a fire hose and 250 gallons of water.  Hopefully, no more borer from that source, as there is less habitat.

I can tell you about what I do here at the vineyard, but, is this the type of thing that interests you?.  IF so, let me know.  IF not let me know. You can respond to this blog or email and I’ll do my best to adjust accordingly. Honestly, I’m not even sure anyone is reading this sporadic blog, but I’m here to educate, bloviate and pontificate for your reading pleasure.