What do MacGyver and Batman have in common? An appreciation for the power of a well thought out plan (trick question-they have too much in common to list). At this point in early November, we decided how many rows we wanted to plant, based on running numbers on available land and what we figured we could handle. We have approximately 3 acres of ground solely for planting with a decent buffer between a nearby gravel road and timber. Given the particular needs of grapes, our layout actually works pretty well. From north to the south, it is (approximately) 135 yards, and 100 yards from east to west.
From an airflow and sun exposure perspective, it is best to plant north to south in order for the rising sun in the east to hit the grapes early in the morning and push off all the nasty low-level, mold inducing, cold, moist air. Fortunately, our hill runs west to east from the highest point to the lowest, so the prevailing winds from the southwest come off the top of the hill and should flow right through the vines pushing air, with the hill providing enough elevation for decent water drainage.
Here is a quick word problem for you and in case it has been a few years, take a few minutes to shake of the dust in that area of the brain: Given the dimensions listed above and 20 rows planned in our first year, approximately how many vines will these wily Dale’s need to order if they plan on using 10 foot spacing between rows and 8 foot spacing between vines? ………………….
I commend you if you came to the right number. 1000 vines! Our plan works out to 50 plants per row and 20 rows. Turns out it won’t be exact due to what I would call computer confusion (definitely not human error), and will be 48 plants per row and 21.5 rows. But, we had decided on 1000 plants. Everyone likes a good round number, after all.
Trellis: The structural system that supports the vines. End posts offer support for each row, smaller posts are placed throughout the row, and wires are run from end to end for the vines to be trained to. There are a number of different trellis systems a vintner can employ depending on varietal, climate, and various other factors.
For our trellis, large posts will be used for an H-brace system on each end serving as the primary anchors for the line. Smaller posts will be placed throughout the row every 20 feet, the backbone of the system. Wire will be stretched from end to end for the vine to be trained to and to provide support for the grapes.
Agricultural plans were not the only things on our minds. There is a much less exciting aspect of the plan that includes paperwork, filings, recordkeeping, taxes, and the like. However, no one likes to think about these things unless they have to and it is not our mission to put you to sleep with the details of tax forms and homemade financial statements.
But without no time the idea was now a reality in the eyes of the state! I find myself thanking people more and more as this is written, and it is a pleasant reminder of how enjoyable sharing this journey with others has been. It was during this period of time I was living with yet another relative while transitioning to a new job and city, a brief transition that lasted the better part of 7 months. However, this gave Dale Hollow access to a wealth of business law and wine knowledge. Learning of the legal issues and proper steps was critical, but what was most appreciated was the amount of quality research and brainstorming we conjured up. Research is just great.