The Adventure Goes On

Happy 4th of July Everyone!




On Monday we (Pretty much the whole team, Cody, Reese, Ricky, Joey and I) went out to the Redlands site in Grants Pass, which is like a two hour round trip, so lots of time in the car. Although it was worth it because we had a lot to do and I got to learn a lot of new things! When we first got there we all had to sort of chip in on getting the shoots all tidied up. Essentially we just went through the rows and picked up all the shoots that were hanging down and tucked them back into the trellis system. So how the rows work in a Vertical Shoot Position (VSP) Trellis System is that there’s and end post on either side that is tied down by some means (There’s many ways to do this) and then there’s smaller post every how many feet apart (To be determined by row length and how many vines you have). Then sort of in between the posts there are wires that run along the row.

Diagram found on

The bottom wire is called the cordon or fruiting wire, as the name suggests, this is where the majority of the fruit will be found, while some may be found a little above the fruiting wire, in this trellis system all the fruit can be found on the bottom portion of the vine. Above this wire there are a series of catch wires. The catch wires are two wires sort of in the same spot but on either side of the posts, these are here so that you can tuck the long shoots up into them, hence the name Vertical Shoot Position.

So when we got there a lot of the shoots hadn’t been tucked into the catch wires so each of us picked a row and tucked them all in. I took some before and after pictures to show the difference.

Before picture of rows at Redlands site.
After picture of rows at Redlands site.









Also while we were out at Redlands we took some stem water potentials and we used two different methods to measure the canopy. Both of these measurements have to be taken right around Solar Noon, when the sun is at its peak, which often doesn’t fall around 12 o’clock due to day length changes and daylight savings time. One way was we used what’s called a Paso Panel, which essentially a frame with a solar panel on it that is connected to a small digital multimeter, which gives us a reading of how many amps of electrical current are being

Image found on

produced by the solar panel which in turn tells us how much direct sunlight is hitting the panel. To take these measurements you place the Paso Panel underneath the shoots of the vine, make sure the panel is balanced and centered, and then press the button to take the reading. When taking readings we took a measurement on either side of the vine because vines aren’t really uniform in shape.

The other way we took canopy measurements was by using a special software. The way we do this is we place a white board on the ground underneath one side of the vine, make sure it’s centered and then take a picture of the board with the shadow of the vine cast onto it, then we take a picture on the other side of the vine. Then when we get back to the lab we convert the picture to binary, every image is made up of pixels and those pixels are made up of binary numbers.

View at Redlands Site.

The picture needs to be converted so that the computer can read the image. Then we select only the white board in the image, so that it’s not trying to read the whole thing. Then we use the computer to analyze the percent of the area shaded and then we convert that to canopy area (cm²/vine).


Overall Monday was by far the busiest day this week.

Example of the bags we use for stem water potential.

On Tuesday I did some research into some different analytical labs that I’m doing a side project for, more to come on that later. We also headed out to Grestoni on Tuesday afternoon to take some more stem water potentials. I talked about this briefly in my previous blog but I was able to take a picture of what the bags that the leaves go into look like. When we first get to the site we have to select the leaves from the data rows that we want to sample, then we put these bags on them and have to wait about 30 minutes before we can actually do the stem water potential testing.

On Wednesday morning it was kind of a slow day in the lab. I went out to the site where the new vineyard here at SOREC (Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center)  will be planted and just doubled checked to make sure all the rows and reps were labeled right so that when it comes to planting we don’t have any mishaps. In the afternoon we went out to the Belle Fiore site to label the rows, take some more stem water potentials and to take some leaf samples.

That’s all for this week, I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July and enjoys the nice weather! At least it’s nice here anyway!

The Start of a New Adventure: Expect the Unexpected

Let’s get real for a second. The first day at a new job or internship is always the weirdest. You have no clue where to go when you get there, you don’t know where anything is, everyone introduces themselves and you forget their name like 5 seconds later. It’s all a little overwhelming but I feel like no matter how old you are or how much experience you have it’s always that way. My first day at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center was no exception. In fact my entire first week was honestly a little crazy, but in a good way.

My first day started out pretty normal, reading some articles, figuring out how the lab sort of works but then I got to out and do some field work! On my first day! I was a little nervous because I’d never done anything like that before and I had no idea what to expect. We ( Joey, Cody and I) ended up going to one of the vineyards that we have an experiment going on at (in partnership with the Pathology lab at SOREC), it’s right down the road and it’s called Grestoni. We were just there to look at Stem Water Potential, which is an indicator of how stressed a plant is. With the results we can sort of decide whether the plant needs more or less water, and thus influences how long we irrigate for.

View of Ashland at Belle Fiore site.

On my second day Cody and I went out to another one of the vineyards called Belle Fiore in Ashland, where we sort of have two simultaneous experiments going on at the same time.

As part of one experiment we are looking at the effects of thinning on grapevines, along with irrigation and rootstock variances (thinning is when you remove clusters at berry set). For this experiment three vines were selected in each row to be thinned, along with the selected vine we thinned the vine on either side so that it doesn’t affect the selected vine. When thinning we removed all the clusters of berries except the basal cluster on each shoot. All of this talk about shoots and clusters and which one is the basal one was a little confusing at first, and since I like to visualize things I took some pictures that should make it easier to understand.

Vines in a row at Grestoni
Vine anatomy







Leaf anatomy

Also at Belle Fiore for both experiments we took some leaf samples which we sent off to get a nutrient assessment. For those samples we collected four basal leaves from three or six preselected vines (depending on the experiment). When we got back to the lab we separated the petioles from the leaf blades before sending them to get analyzed. 

On Thursday and Friday we had to do some more sampling at Grestoni, this time so that we can perform DNA extractions. For this sampling we took four leaves (two basal leaves from each side of the vine) from every tenth vine.


Vineyard rows at Grestoni site.

Cody had a great analogy for what it feels like to be sampling in these giant vineyards. It’s like in the fourth Harry Potter Movie (the Goblet of Fire) when they are at the maze and they all start out together but then one by one they all enter the maze, and when you enter it’s just so quiet and lonely. That perfectly describes sampling at a vineyard.

Lab bench at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center.

After we got the samples we went back to the lab to help start the next process. For this we took the leaves from each sample, separated the petioles and leaf blades, and chopped the petioles up into tiny little slices (this sort of made me feel like I was a giant cutting up little pieces of celery).  Then we measured out 1 mg of petiole slices in a tiny tube with a small metal ball, this is so the petiole can be ground up so that we can perform DNA extractions.

Overall it was an exciting first week. I learned a lot and I got to see some amazing new places. I’ve also realized that this summer is gonna be a lot more crazy than I originally thought.