What goes into the planting of a vineyard, by Hugh Hamilton of McLaren Vale, is worth our time.
The planting of a vineyard is far from as simple as this video (below) makes it look.
I got an Email from Hugh Hamilton Wines in the McLaren Vale of South Australia. Don’t we just love how an entity half way around the world, and on the opposite hemisphere, can reach out and get someone’s attention within minutes?
As I read the E-Mail, I thought, “Wow, this is a lot of information to take in… Lots going on: what they’re doing, what they’re selling as chatskis, exciting happenings in the vineyards, keeping up-to-date with all things Black Sheep in 2014 (with their stylish calendar featuring 12 stunning new black and white images), finding a new wine and food match with recipe each month, perfect for the season!
The vineyard is a place of constant evaluation, review and renewal based on the never ending quality quest to find the most suitable grape variety for the soil types in our vineyards. This is then matched to customer preferences for our wines and leads to some expensive choices as to the makeup of our vineyards. These are weighty decisions because apart from the cost of replanting and growing new grapes it means we have taken valuable land out of production for many years. They need to be correct ones.
I kept scrolling, looking for that nugget that would mean gold to me and you. I knew it had to be in there somewhere. And, I wasn’t disappointed… at the very bottom of the page… I was so pleased that I patiently scrolled down to the end to discover a video. I thought, “Why not? I’ve come this far.”
It proved to be the golden ticket I had been hoping for… I’ve seen the planting of a vineyard, but not everyone has, and this video is really worth sharing.
What goes into the planning of a vineyard
As I watched it, I realized, not only is this a great “How it’s done” video, but I caught glimpses of Southern Australia and how it’s done there… The people are different than what I’m seeing in California. It’s rare to see anyone Anglo willing to get his hands muddy, sadly, unless it’s an owner of a small vineyard. As I was watching the video, I was struck by that. Our local city Anglos who can’t find work would rather hold up a sign than to find a way to the vineyards… which is very easy, by the way. One has only to find the pick-up spot, and get in the truck.
I’m not in their shoes, and I can think of a myriad of reasons why they wouldn’t, honestly; like mental illness, so I’m not judging. It’s just an observation. I’ve yet to see one white person not biologically related to the vineyard or winery go into them in California, and I’ve been all over this state… They’re there in small family vineyards, but they’re an endangered species in the wine industry otherwise.
I was also struck by the dog in this video, just happily hanging around. That might happen in a small, private vineyard, but in any corporate vineyard that I’ve seen in my state, it’s not going to happen. You have to slow down and smell the roses, when you have dogs around, and commodity land isn’t that tuned in.
Here’s the video, and how root stock gets planted into a vineyard, step by step. Enjoy!
New Vines in the Black Sheep Paddocks! from Hugh Hamilton Wines on Vimeo.
I liked the video. Very informative. Please note that AMNH in New York City had a Food exhibit last year. This document would probably fit in very well. Perhaps they will want to add a session on the wind industry. You can mention my name.
I remember when I was trying to get into the industry. I wanted hands on experience. So, I asked a grower I had met if I could work on his vineyard for a season. His response was that I was “the first gringo who had ever asked him for a job”. That was 14 years ago. Since then I have only had one non-hispanic field worker, and he only lasted 3 weeks. Whoever says the field work is not skilled labor, has never done field work. However, we train fresh employees every season and would gladly train anyone willing to do the work.
Good for you, Derek. This is a great story to share, backing up my thoughts. I don’t have empirical data on how many
Anglos do or don’t work in vineyards… Let’s just say when I’ve been in them, there have been no gringos present. I only have experiential learnings… 21 years later.