Many of you may know that in June of 2021 a big step was taken, and either by good fortune or providence, I bought a beautiful property in Copperopolis, Ca. It may have been that it is better to be lucky than good, or it is that the right thing will find you... Either way this is allows a whole new adventure. Now the other passions that go into growing and making wine are going to be tied together in one place. We have expanded into farming along with new vineyards going in.
So the plan is to develop next year at least 2 vineyard blocks, with the ultimate goal of 5 vineyard blocks. The soil conditions here are quite reminicent of the Stagecoach Vineyards in Napa near Atlas Peak. Very rocky soils with high heat index in the summer. This dictates thick skin reds such as Ca, Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah & Cab Franc. This is fine because all of these play nice together. The initial vineyard block it the "proof of concept" block, in which I'll get a running start as seeing first hand what works, and more importantly, what doesn't work so that this can be applied to the upcoming vineyard blocks.
Make no bones about it... No amount of experience , or reading or studying fully prepares you for a new vineyard. I'm geuinely excited about this as this gives me a chance to as the Beatles say "Get back to where you once belong"..... ( key the short Ringo drum solo....) Back to the beginning, planting vineyards..... Your first job it to ",listen to nature" and pay attention to what it tells you.... Soil conditions, wind patterns, Sun angle, each plays a roll. Ignore them at your own peril. Next is what will nature throw at you? because... well , thats what nature does.... So, how do you handle everything from birds, deer, possum, raccoons, rabbits gophers, voles, rodents, everything and everyone will want a part of the vineyard. Your first task is to figure out who is coming for it, when and how, and then what deterrents can you use to protect the vineyard. You put your game plan together make sure you double and triple check everything. In example..... If you don't figure out the proper spacing and turn ratios within the rows and around them, you can risk not being able to get your tractor equipment in to do the work. If your rows are 42" wide and you have a 54" mower deck.... you are screwed. What you don't take into account up front you will most certainly pay for later. Once you've planted, you are committed. Going back and making changes is very costly and time consuming. So, a "proof of concept" vineyard block allows you to apply everything you want to do, learn from it before committing on a much grander and more costly scale.