I just read an article by Dr. Cliff Ohmart in Wines and Vines magazine that detailed the importance of keeping records.  Go here to read the entire article (for a limited time only without subscription): http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=columns_article&content=73699&columns_id=41

I found this section to be particularly interesting:

“The importance of keeping records of daily vineyard and winery practices is more apparent than it is for creating and recording a sustainable vision. In my experience, one of the most obvious tasks is keeping quantitative records of pest levels on a regular and consistent basis and comparing them to important crop parameters such as yield, quality, rate of ripening, etc. This is about the only way to improve pest management over the long run.

We all think we have great memories about things like pest problems and do not need to write down details about them. Our ability to remember things in enough detail to make the right management decisions is not as good as we think. It’s also important to record many other practices such as canopy management, irrigation management, fuel consumption, petiole samples and so forth.

The more detailed and quantitative the recordkeeping, the more useful it is. However, I am often amazed at the lack of recordkeeping in some vineyard operations. Limited recordkeeping is not unique to winegrape growing.

Why do so many growers not keep many records? First, recordkeeping is a pain in the neck. Second, it is time consuming and therefore costs money. Moreover, I have long thought that certain records are not kept because the data is not perceived as being valuable.

There is a catch-22 here: Until records are kept, it is not possible to determine their value, but if they are perceived as not valuable, then no records will be kept. I am constantly searching for analogies to bring the point home about the importance of recordkeeping. For example, how many of you would manage your finances without writing anything down?”

Keeping records of what you do in the vineyard is extremely important.  Sure, it’s a hassle, but in the long run it will save you time, money, and more than just a little of your sanity.