There really is no easy way…but it’s not a bad idea to hope a friend or family member decides to plant one and you can go help, without being the one that puts in hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, and hours of schooling to make it happen.
The truth is there is so much work that went in to getting things ready for a single day of planting that it’s impossible to share it all. I know that my aunt and uncle have been working until dark every day after work and sun up to sun down every weekend for months now.
Rows before anything was planted.
What were they doing? Putting up row after row of wire and support poles to get ready for 1,250 vines to be planted. That was actually less than intended, but there was a problem at the nursery so only a portion of the vines arrived and were planted. Which, while not ideal actually worked out because in addition to planting all the vines we were able to help install the irrigation as well. We would not have gotten to that most likely if all the vines had arrived as originally planned.
That right there is where wine comes from. Sort of looks like a cranky twig sticking out of the ground.
There are a lot of steps to planting. My aunt and uncle did as much as they could over the last few months. When Mark and I got there Friday evening we started putting the bamboo poles in. There is a measurement to follow so things line up as they should and every few feet you stick a pole in the ground, right up next to the wire that’s already been strung.
Once the poles are in people know where the vines go and can start digging holes to put the vines in, which need to be right up next to the pole. The goal is to get everything as close to that bottom wire as possible because the irrigation tube (black tube on the ground in the above picture) will clip to the bottom wire and water the vines. As “we” finished putting the poles in place Saturday, others starting digging the holes at each bamboo pole, and after the holes were in a few people want along with arm fulls of vines and put a vine in each hole. The rest of us followed behind and started filling the holes back in.
There were about 22 adults working in the vineyard, with my Mom and aunt in the kitchen literally cooking all day long to keep us all fed, and it took from about 7 am to 3 or 4 pm for the last vine to go in. The irrigation took a few more hours after that, and was finished up Sunday. At least I think it was, we headed for home before it was done, but it seemed to be well in hand.
Row 8, vine 5…the vine that Sky planted. 🙂 If the wine from that vine taste sassy we know why!
After…all vines are in the ground.
I was surprised at how little difference there was between starting and finishing. The vines are on one hand so cool, but on the other so not impressive. From a distance you couldn’t even tell that we had done anything really.
But, we had. We worked all day in the sun and sand, and while it was hard work, it wasn’t particularly challenging. Dare I say it was even fun. We had fun visiting with everyone that showed up to help, and getting to know other people in my aunt and uncles life.
There is a huge sense of accomplishment in working all day and being able to say I helped plant a vineyard. And, it offered a small taste of what it’s like to work in a crop field. I have a first hand appreciation for those that work in crop fields assuring we can go to the grocery store and purchase fresh fruit, veggies, beer, wine, clothing etc. It’s hard work, some of it is much harder than what we did, and I’m thankful that there are those who are willing to do it.
Friday evening when I still thought I was having fun. Just kidding, it really was fun work the whole time.
Gifford Vineyard Established 5/2/2015!
Planting the first vine!
Of course we had to toast with wine before planting the vines!
Michelle, Bob, me, aunt Candy
Uncle Paul with a bundle of vines.
Grace (above) and Kiera (below) planting their vines with Bob and Michelle.
By this point in the day the sand was seriously hot…I don’t know how that isn’t burning Kiera’s legs!
I’m thankful we got to be part of it all, and got to see how the process works first hand. I’m excited for the day when it’s a vineyard full of lush green plants, and we can stroll through the rows admiring the grapes.
We helped plant a vineyard…can’t get over it! Congratulations to Aunt Candy and Uncle Paul…you are vineyard owners!
P.S. and now I get to go run a half through some vineyards! So excited for Saturday!