WARNING: If you’re in the wine business, this is only viticulture 101.  This blog story has been created for people just learning about vineyards. Please judge accordingly.

VIT 101

Jo Diaz: Volunteer grapevines. This grapevine just popped up about five years ago. Last year was the first year we actually had any grapes on the vine. If vines begin from seed, they take about five years to bear fruit. If they’re grafted from another root stock, it takes three years. It’s now beginning to be out of control with growth, and I’ll have to cut it back soon. Otherwise, if you came to visit, its tendrils might attach themselves to you and you’d become a trellis for the rest of the season. “Grapes on the House” is what we call it.

Gypsy Canyon Winery: Walking through the vineyard, there are always a few vines reaching out to the aware passerby. Nature’s way of reminding one to be in the moment. So, yes I welcome a few new tendrils.

VIT 101

The Perfection of a vineyard… I’ve been wanting to share this one with you, even though it’s a month old. Most vineyard images that you see are mature in the season process, not one just emerging like this one. It’s just not as glorious.

Or… isn’t it?

Look very closely at all the juxtapositions, in one 10 acre plot, as this one found at The Rubin Family of Wines. The viticulturist has planted every single vine, which began 25 years ago. The precision is impeccable. This man loves his garden and each vine as his own child… And every season, it brings forth remarkable fruit. His name is Alvaro Zamora.

FROM: Patricia… Beautiful! I love images of vineyards at all stages of life. Orchards, too. I remember driving through the early ’70s when a lot of nut groves were being planted. Now they’re mature! Lovely to follow the life span gazing out of the car and then stopping to buy and taste the results.

[Photo: provided by Marty Johnson]

Marty Johnson, co-owner/co-founder at Ruby Magdalena Vineyards:

Lovely. The precision is commendable. Makes our ramshackle little vineyard look pretty shoddy. But then again, we did ours by hand as well. Hole by hole and plant by plant. Probably helped bind my wife and I together as tightly as anything could. Here it is in the first spring after planting. (March 2009)

Jo Diaz:I am betting, Marty, that I could have shot the same image of your vineyard. It’s all about how I shot this one. From above, you can get these angles. It’s all about how to angle the shot.

I just looked at your image in larger scale. Good job! This will be a fun one to watch.

Marty Johnson: Baby steps Jo, baby steps. My wife and I are patient and we have each other to lean on. Just trying to keep the hand crafted in hand crafted wines.

VIT 101

Jo Diaz; Just as a follow-up, I thought I’d share this image with you, since the earlier image was of a vineyard just starting out in the season. This is from a small family vineyard called Orentano Wines, from the Ron Buonchristiani family. It’s located in Russian River Valley, and they’re one of our artisan clients. I took this picture the first day I saw their vineyard. They handcraft a few hundred cases of their own Pinot Noir each year. The rest of their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir grapes have contracts from buyers, eager to have their grapes. This location is as romantic as a vineyard ever gets, right?