Sunday, April 1, 2007
A patch of ground that wants to be a vineyard when it grows up
I spent a couple hours at our vineyard site this afternoon with my daughter. She's only three and a half, but I'm already starting to groom her for her career in viticulture. The grass is a surreal emerald green, ankle high fescue. Whenever I stand somewhere in the center of this empty pasture, I can picture vines all around. Nobody else can see them, but I do. Is it vision or hubris? We'll find out which.
Our property is a southeast to southwest-facing bowl of roughly 21 acres that wraps around a 3.5 acre lake. All of it is ridge top or slope. I believe I can squeeze 6-7 acres in premium vineyard blocks.
Today we ran a pair of unscientific percolation tests. We dug 12" post holes, filled them with water, stuck a yardstick in and recorded the levels every 10 minutes. We're getting approximately 1 inch of drainage every twenty minutes. That seems decent, though we'll know a lot more after more tests and after we dig and inspect several soil pits to get a look at the subsoil.
We also transplanted a few one-year-old red cedars along the west side of the lake. With prevailing winds out of the west, I want a screen to help collect any drifting fungicides and keep them from building up in the water in the event we ever want to use the lake for recreation.
Right now I plan to plant in Spring '09. Until then I'll try to learn as much as possible by taking courses, reading and helping other growers in their vineyards.