Yesterday I met with the grape guru of Oregon, Stirling Fox.
Is that about the coolest name you could possibly have? (And yes, he is about the nicest guy in the world.) Stirling came very highly recommended and really is the go to guy in this area for vineyard establishment and management.
Stirling is who I plan to use as my vineyard consultant/manager and is a wealth of information. He spent hours answering my questions as we tried to do some forward thinking into the twenty year plan of my life and vineyard.
Of course, we came to many decisions and things I need to start working on.
One of the first requirements is clearing this land. All my crazy looking oak trees are on their way out! In order to clear this property I have to file a request with the Department of Forestry to remove this land from forest production, changing it over to agriculture. Sounds like a big deal but it’s really not, just more paperwork.
I also have to file for water rights, a little more difficult of a process but again do-able and required in order to irrigate the vineyard from a vineyard well.
The pictures I’m showing you are also where we have decided to plant the vineyard first. We have great west to southwest facing slopes, perfect fruit ripening conditions.
It would be nice to start with about 10-12 acres of Pinot Noir, a couple of Pinot Gris, a few of Riesling and a couple of Chardonnay. However, if I told you the cost of establishing even that much of this site, you might choke on your morning coffee. I hope I can still afford to drink coffee after all this.
However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And somehow I’m going to get those grapes in the ground if I have to eat minute rice for the next ten years.
As soon as the land is cleared we will be digging soil pits with a backhoe in order to understand what type of soil variation and uniformity we will have from vineyard block to block.
A soil pit shows both vertical and horizontal variations in soil properties. Things like soil structure, potential rooting depth and rock content.
With such a large area, a thorough soil investigation, while costly, is warranted. This will help ward off any disasters which could possibly lead to economic disasters if problems with the soil are not corrected before the vineyard is installed.
Once the land is cleared we will have to plant a cover crop of legumes (probably peas) in order to keep a desirable Nitrogen content in the soil.
Okay, so much to do, and there’s so much more, my head is spinning.
Wish me luck! It’s going to take a village.