In order to see where we are going we must first look to where we have been… The vineyard has nothing to fear but fear itself, frost itself, disease itself and predators (themselves?); and so on and so forth. As the annual State of the Union address looms, I thought it would be a good idea to inform everyone about the current state of the winery; what we have accomplished (have we accomplished anything?.. where is the wine?!), and where we are headed.
What have we been so busy with to produce zero bottles of wine after all this working, writing, and taking pictures? Fret not: most of 2012 and throughout 2013 we were busy building Dale Hollow and the infrastructure required to make a winery. Set your flux capacitor for 12 months ago as we hit a few of the highlights:
Asher to Jesse, “Hey.. We sure like tasting different kinds of alcohol. Imagine the money we could save if we just made the stuff”.. Thus summarizing the fabled conversation, as legend has it. The idea came to fruition and suitable ground was chosen in the fall of 2012.
Chainsaws were wielded and old telephone posts were repurposed into old trellis end posts.
Some recreational wine was made for personal enjoyment, and enjoy it we did.
1000 vines were ordered in January; representing five different varietals, some hybrid and some native.
Pruning at the South Vineyard in late winter helped produce a bountiful crop of Vignoles in the summer.
A grid was laid out, the South Vineyard was plotted, and holes were dug; against all odds as the Missouri climate flexed her unrelenting schizophrenia by throwing snow and rain at us through March and April.
From the end of rainy April to the middle of sunny May, all 1000 plants were nestled safely into their new homes over the span of about three weekends.
Grow tubes protected the vines from the elements and predators, and the vineyard was groomed multiple times with only one Blu-x casualty at the hands of a loose cannon tractor pilot.
Vignoles were harvested at the South Vineyard under the scorching heat of an August sun, making one vintner wonder if farming ever happens during enjoyable weather.
Grow tubes were removed from the North Vineyard to prepare the young vines for the harsh winter to come, and they were tied up to maintain the vertical growth for reaching the bottom trellis wire in 2014 (we hope).
In case our vines ever get thirsty, we dug a really big hole to find some water and thanks to Benjamin Franklin and Nikola Tesla, we had a magical way to pull the water from the ground.
Then finally, after far too many cycles of the sun rising and setting, Dale Hollow received approval to legally make wine..
You heard it here first! The approval letter came in late December, 2013, and our patience has been awarded. It is time to make some wine!
Also, a big thanks to K&M Distributing and our generous cousins, the Vignoles have been patiently waiting as well and not only will they be turned to wine, but they will finally be out of the way!
What can we say about the future; and specifically, 2014? Not much. For one, our style is more “shoot from the hip” in the present. Making promises is the kind of work reserved for folks that are voted into office. All I can say is that you will be able to find us on most weekends, rain or shine, toiling after what we love. We will be (finally) making wine from whatever we can get our hands on, constructing a trellis, pruning, and providing the sweat and footprints that are the best source of nutrition a vineyard can ask for.
Ultimately, our grand hope after all the toiling is to make some wine unique to our area, with that Central Missouri terroir shining through every bottle, and enjoyed by the community and surrounding areas that have already shown so much support and enthusiasm when we have yet to sell a single bottle. Now that we are legal we are close… and we can’t wait.