After weeks of mind and body numbing preparation the vineyard was finally ready to plant. The posts were in, the ground was back-pack sprayed, (that was hard!) the wire nailed on and the endless rolls of poly were clipped neatly. Aaron did the back-breaking job of clearing rocks. Those were the 3 Advil days!
Blake designed and implemented the irrigation system and Daiya had spent countless hours measuring and flagging the property. Oh yes, and I took loads of pictures as the official recorder and did the beer runs…. Manicures are expensive you know!
There were countless equipment breakdowns; tracks slipping off excavators, things not starting and posts that had been wrestled into the ground were knocked over like flies when the tractor made a miscalculation. Scores of Ibuprofen were consumed in the wee hours of the morning when our tender aching bodies were protesting loudly as we lumbered out of bed to start another day.
Compost to amend the holes
Thursday we picked up the vines and clipped and soaked them overnight to re-hydrate them. Daiya smartly bought a keg of beer for the planting crew. Turned out that was barely enough! She organized the food for the next day and even came up with a chef to do the après planting dinner. Style points for her!
Trimming the plants
Most importantly bodies were conscripted. There’s a bit of a romance surrounding the planting of a vineyard and allot of unsuspecting souls were excited to be part of the experience. Who were we to disavow them of their dreams?
Our good crew!
Planting day dawns and armed with gardening trowels and grubby clothes the crew drifts in. The keeners were there at the crack and dropped down on their knees and got to work. The first block was hilly but we had attitude and energy to spare. Dig dig dig scrape scrape scrape. Line up the plants with the wire and make sure the scion was at least three inches above the ground. It’s not rocket science. Up down up down up down. The planters developed their own style, some were on their butts, others bending at the waist and then there were the squatters. Gym types I guess. I was in the sit on your toush and drag yourself along the ground from hole to hole group. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done. The first hour was exciting, spirits were high and there was no hole too deep or too shallow to deal with. On and on it went. People were still smiling and joking around when the lunch break came and we all trouped over to have some chow and maybe a few brewskis to wet our whistles.
First row of Pino Noir
The afternoon shift was a tad bit harder. The rocks were bigger, soil was harder and our knees and hands were beginning to protest. Now we are getting seriously tired and the rain clouds are gathering. The first squall hit us around 3:30 but we hung in there. It actually felt kind of good. But as we approached our last 15 rocky kick butt rows it just started dumping and it was all we could do to keep moving forward. Half the crew packed it in and went in for baileys and coffee. Those were the smart ones…. Some of the hardier types went for masochistic broke until the intense rainstorm finally drove us off the block. “Uncle!” Cold and exhausted we tromped off the field and succumbed to the pleasure of beers and wine and chips and salsa. Filthy but happy we felt a sense of a group accomplishment and pride and pleasure knowing how lucky we are not to have to do this all over again tomorrow! That night there was a bit of celebrating by the younger group as they still had the energy left to party. Not me…..
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