In just a few weeks, May 20th to be exact, we cross a magical threshold at Rogue Farms.
On that day we’ll get 15 hours, 2 minutes and 1 second of daylight. These “15 hour” days will be with us for another couple of months.
Hops love 15 hour days. They crave those long periods of daylight to trigger growth hormones that send the bines climbing up the trellises several inches in a day, several feet in a week.
But first we have to give them a head start. It’s called training.
Training starts as we pick the best looking bines from a mound. Only a few of the bines will be trained. The others we’ll cut back to the ground.
We have 1549 strings per acre, 65058 strings in the entire hopyard. We train each bine by hand. It’s time-consuming work, but one of the most important chores we do all year. Without training, the bines will just spread out over the field. Climbing up the trellis strings gives them maximum exposure to the sun they so desperately need to grow and produce cones.
The best bines are wound clockwise around the trellis strings. Clockwise because that’s how bines follow the sun.
Bines climb the strings with tiny hairs that are about impossible to see without a magnifying glass. If you rub against them they are irritating to the skin. Which is why most of the time we wear gloves when handling hop bines.
Then we tie them in place. After that, we let Mother Nature and sunshine take it from here.
There are a lot of places that get more sun that we do in the Wigrich Appellation. But most of those places don’t get “15 hour” days. Nor do they have our mild and wet winters and springs, nor our rich alluvial soils. Our climate and soil are two big reasons why Rogue Farms has the world’s best terroir for growing hops.
Please see for yourself by visiting us at Rogue Farms this spring. Taste the difference terroir makes the next time you open a Rogue ale, porter, lager, stout, mead, braggot, kolsch or spirits.