April, we planted some more grapes. Only
about an acre – nothing crazy. Actually,
first we had to yank out some grapes we weren’t happy with to make room for the
We decided to replant that beautiful soil with a grape that we have found to be much more at home at our location…Merlot. The grapes get mailed to us…UPS actually. They come in a big cardboard box with wet sawdust and shredded newspaper to keep them damp. They look like gangly, wooden squid, with roots splaying out all over the place. As we stuck them in a tub of water to get them ready, I thought back to Auburn Road plantings past…
May 2004 – Our first planting: We planted the front two acres of the
vineyard. We had a cast of thousands
helping us – friends, family, partners – and we were all on our hands and knees
with little shovels, claws and yardsticks so that we could measure them exactly
six feet apart. It took two solid weeks. When it ended, all of us were bent, broken
and exhausted…but we had just become actual farmers. Stupid farmers, as it turns out. But farmers nonetheless.
May 2005. We planted the back three acres. This time, we borrowed a tomato planter from
Ross and Trish up at Woodfield Vineyards.
This machine was a piece of Amish engineering genius. It was dragged along behind the tractor,
cutting a furrow in the soil while two people sat, side by side, on either side
of the planter each placing a baby grape vine in the newly cut furrow, one
after the other. We planted the entire
three acres in two and a half days. We
cried tears of absolute joy. It is only
after you have done something the absolute dumbest way possible do you truly
appreciate the brilliance of a machine like this one. We used the planting
machine whenever possible from there on out.
It was wonderful.
May 2015. The section of Merlot right in front of the
Enoteca got a disease called red blotch.
I must say that it struck me as odder than it probably should have that
plants can get sick…like catching a cold.
But this was the plague. So we
yanked out an entire acre of those grapes.
Now we had to replant. Problem
was, we could not use the planting machine because the trellis was still
there. So we had to dig 1000 holes. By hand.
With shovels. It was as miserable
as it sounds.
Back in April 2019, of all of those
planting memories– it was 2015, the digging of 1000 holes, that rushed back
quickest. We had the same problem
here…lots of trellis already built and plants we needed to get into the
ground. Resigned to our fate, we
gathered the rusty old shovels and prepared for the worst.
had a better idea. She grabbed her phone
and made a few calls. Enter Vinetech – a
couple of great local guys who manage vineyards for a living (on top of running
their own place…the wonderful, brand new Cedar Rose Winery). They had augers that could fit between the
trellis posts and a team to put the grapes in the ground for us. They were pros. It took them a day to plant everything. And we watched, drinking a glass of the Gaia
that these Merlot grapes will eventually contribute their juice to.