Summer on the Tractor

From John, July 20th, 2014

The roosters in the vineyard start to crow.  It is 5 a.m.  The eastern sky is showing that a new day will soon be upon us.  Teri and I have spent the night in the yurt after an evening of revelry in front of it!  I roll out of bed;  my old dog thumps her tail but makes no other movement;  Teri buries her head under her pillow as I tiptoe out of the yurt, carrying a bundle of clothes.

The tractor is in place, sprayer attached, ready to roll.  I quickly consult my notes: 4# sulfur per acre X 2 acres per tank;  but my scale weighs in grams so 8# becomes 3.64 kg (I am happy to note that my college days of using a metric balance to weigh out 1 oz portions is still useful!).  The sulfur is weighed out and carefully stirred into a 5 gallon bucket.

My tractor, which has been idling for a several minutes, is now revved up to 2700 rpm, the PTO engaged and sprayer rumbles to life.  Slowly the sulfur mix is poured into the tank and a man looking somewhat like a space alien with respirator, goggles and ear protection climbs on board.  Even though sulfur is an organic spray, it stings the eyes and insults my nose!

The clutch is depressed as the stick is slammed into high 1st and suddenly we are ambling toward the first row.  The air is dead still, the sun still not showing itself as I swing the lever forward to activate the sprayer.  A mist of sulfur hurdles into and over the vines behind me, settling on leaves and young fruit clusters.  Everything is working perfectly and I hope that bit of good fortune stays with me over the next 4 hours as I finish one vineyard

block, reload, finish another and so on.  I am continuously glancing behind me, taking a quick inventory of how the nozzles are functioning, then eying the pressure gauge, checking the rpm and the tank level.

The sun starts to peak above the horizon.  I flip on the music to my head set…the Brandenburg Concerti this morning.  The fruit set looks really good, wow, we’re going to have to drop some crop out here.  Leaves have been pulled where necessary and the vineyard is in near perfect shape.  Life is good.

Share This

Recent News & Rants

A Wee Rant About “Natural Wines”

I am a bit perplexed by the popularity of a relatively new genre of wine: “Natural Wines”. In my opinion, this is a narrow and arbitrary classification meant to suit the marketing needs of whoever is using it. When I see a cloudy wine and am told “Oh this is a natural wine”, I am compelled to retort “I can’t think of anything more natural than gravity…maybe the winemaker should have waited to rack his wine for bottling!” And when one encounters a wine which is either oxidized or smells of fingernail polish remover or has been brutalized by a lactic acid bacteria infection, sure these are “natural processes” but they also emanate from poor winemaking practices.

There’s More... >
Water Stress in Oregon!?

2016 was an extremely dry and warm vintage. Because of water stress, the berries were smaller and crop smaller than usual. However, a beneficient rain in early September re-hydrated the fruit and the result is a cellar of very concentrated and wonderfully balanced wines. Get ready for a brilliant 2016 vintage of small production down the road!

There’s More... >
Arrivederci Dear Guido

Guido, our 18 year old Tuxedoed cat, quietly passed away on August 18. For 17 vintages, Guido was our constant companion in the cellar, in the vineyard, in the yurt.

There’s More... >

... for anything your heart desires: a wine, a retailer, a rant, a newsletter, true love (if you’re not too picky). It’s all one convenient, global search away:

(or close this incredibly helpful search tool).