Egads! There’s grapevines in them-thar fields!

Okay, so way behind on posts. Blame the CMO. She’s a slacker!

On April 13 our crew of vineyard professionals got to work on the top third of the vineyard, the section closest to the barn/future winery/tasting room. It took a crew of 12 amazing guys about 10 hours, one tray of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, and a lunch break to plant 964 Pinot Noir 667 Clone vines, and 1,845 Pinot Noir Pommard Clone vines. Final total, 2,809 plants.

While four of the guys dug holes, the others planted. It looked like this:

Digging the holes in pre-marked positions (see previous post).

Digging the holes in pre-marked positions (see previous post).

Planting vines into the holes.

Planting vines into the holes.

Fortunately, we had an absolutely gorgeous day. Thank you, Mother Nature, for playing along!

Fortunately, we had an absolutely gorgeous day. Thank you, Mother Nature, for playing along!

A freshly-planted vine settles into its new home.

A freshly-planted vine settles into its new home.

Then, it was time to spend some more money! To protect our new babies, er, vines, we enclosed them in 24-inch-tall grow tubes. 2,809 grow tubes. We were advised to go with a product called BLUE-X Shelters because they come in two parts so they can be shipped and stored flat. They also (supposedly) offer a variety of growing benefits (you can read more here here)—to be determined.

Unfortunately, because they ship flat and  come in two pieces, these grow tubes have to be assembled.

By hand.

One at a time.

For 2,809 times.

(CMO’s Note: We will NOT be dis-assembling them and storing them flat.)

Fortunately, the CMO’s parents saved the day, delighting in the opportunity to help in the vineyard without actually having to work IN the vineyard. Bonus: They got to sit down, too! About 1,000 tubes in, they politely asked if they might see themselves on the blog (READ: “If we’re going to get carpal tunnel from this task, we better be on that dang blog of yours!”). So, here they are:

Here, the CMO's mom demonstrates the "rolling" technique...

Here, the CMO’s mom demonstrates the “rolling” technique…

…followed immediately thereafter by the stuffing technique.

…followed immediately thereafter by the stuffing technique.

The CMO's dad doing the same.

The CMO’s dad doing the same.

Even the winemaker got in on the act, stuffing the rolled tubes into trash bags so we could cart them down to the field. We filled nearly 75 trash bags with these things.

Even the winemaker got in on the act, stuffing the rolled tubes into trash bags so we could cart them down to the field. We filled nearly 75 trash bags with these things.

On April 26, the amazing vineyard crew came back to place the tubes, secured around each vine with a 4-foot-tall bamboo stake stuck into the ground and inserted between the two tube layers. It took them just 4 hours (and one double-batch of freshly-baked double chocolate chip brownies) to place all 2,809 tubes. It looked like this:

Tube placement Step 1: Position bamboo stake between the two layers of the tube.

Tube placement Step 1: Position bamboo stake between the two layers of the tube.

Tube placement Step 2: Carefully slide tube down bamboo stake.

Tube placement Step 2: Carefully slide tube down bamboo stake.

Tube placement Step 3: Make sure vine is inside the tube, and move on.

Tube placement Step 3: Make sure vine is inside the tube, and move on.

So when all 2,809 tubes were placed, it looked (and still looks) like this:

Tubes with a view.

Tubes with a view.

And, because at this point the CMO has completely lost her mind, she took a few “vines’-eye-view” shots of tube placement. So you can now pretend YOU are the VINE.

You-Vine are thinking, "Ahhh! What's that Blue Thing doing here??" (gratuitous They Might Be Giants reference--did ya get it?)

You-Vine are thinking, “Ahhh! What’s that Blue Thing doing here??” (gratuitous They Might Be Giants reference–did ya get it?)

You-Vine are now thinking, "Ah, I feel so safe and cozy. I think I'll grow 150% faster now."

You-Vine are now thinking, “Ah, I feel so safe and cozy. I think I’ll grow 150% faster now.”

Not to be left out, the winemaker practiced his tube placement technique, too:

The suave way to apply a grow tube.

The suave way to apply a grow tube.

Check out that form!

Check out that form!

That's how it's done, people.

That’s how it’s done, people.

On a serious note, this is a picture of the very first row of our newly-planted vineyard. This row of Pommard honors the memory of Kelly Lynn Armstrong Palmer, who was the CMO’s mentor and a dear friend. Kelly lost her battle with pancreatic cancer five years ago this June. Her life, and her fight for it, were the inspiration for us taking on this huge, life-changing winery project.

Row 1 of our new vineyard, planted to honor the memory of Kelly Lynn Armstrong Palmer, who wasn't afraid to take a chance, and gave so much in her 40 short years on Earth. This one's for you Kel.

Row 1 of our new vineyard, planted to honor the memory of Kelly Lynn Armstrong Palmer, who wasn’t afraid to take a chance, and gave so much in her 40 short years on Earth. This one’s for you Kel.

Stay tuned. Because these little vines have been in the ground for 6 weeks now (and encased in their little blue incubators for 4 weeks), we’re seeing a LOT of growth. More pictures to come.

4 Comments
  1. Amanda Shaw-Yagoub 3 years ago

    Wow!! What a lot of hard work was put into this—must feel great. 🙂 It’s beautiful! I’m wishing you lots of luck.

  2. Alice Pearson 3 years ago

    Well, finally some recognition for Mom and Dad! 🙂

  3. Scott 3 years ago

    Aren’t you the guy who hit me in the eye?
    Aren’t you the guy who hit me in the eye?

    • Author
      bellsupwinery 3 years ago

      Completely unscientific and poorly funded studies show that They Might Be Giants fans are 3x more likely to buy Bells Up Winery wines in massive volumes than the average person (who is just 2x more likely to buy Bells Up Winery wines in massive volumes).

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