Monday, June 30, 2008


Since we have planted our vineyard in a series of stages, we have vines that range from brand new to a mature 5 years old. That makes training and shaping vines a complicated job. I was going to describe the task I’m performing in training this 2 year old Gewirtztraminer vine, but how boring that would be compared to Joan’s story of her encounter with a Mojave Rattler. She was struggling with the luxuriant growth of the root stock (called water shoots) at the base of a 5 year old Syrah when she realized that she touched a snake that was hunting a big black stink bug. We have many types of snakes in the vineyard, so that’s not unusual, but this one was different, she just had a sense about it. She hollered for me to come “Tim, I think there’s a rattlesnake here”. For sure it was. By the time I got there it was coiled and ready for business. I shoed it away with a shovel and as we both watched it slither along in silence I know we thought the same things. The snake was here first. This is its land. We are the ones who changed it and replaced it with a vineyard. Just let it be. Well no. It is a Mojave, reputed to be the most toxic of rattlers. There’s little Emma to think about and customers and the next time (God knows why Joan wasn’t bitten). I dispatched the creature, but not without a heavy heart. So here’s a picture of me training Gewirtztraminer vines (there was too much excitement to get a shot of the snake). But the real story is more interesting and more complicated.

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