This past 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 new ones.
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.
But Jules 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.