Making Wine

We have 49 Zinfandel vines in our backyard in the foothills above Napa Valley. They are clones from "Dry Creek" vineyards on a St. George rootstock. We're in the "Howell Mountain" appellation. We planted the first 25 vines in the spring of 2004. I planted another 26 vines the spring of 2008. One didn't take, and it appears that one of my older vines has died, so we now have 49 vines. Maybe the older one will come back to life

The vines are "head trained". This manner of training may produce lower yields, but it seems easier than a complex and potentially expensive system of trellises with stakes and wires. Commercial wineries need the order and regularity of trellises with neat rows that accommodate tractors. We already had some nice stone terraces so we can't handle any wheeled vehicles in the vineyard anyway. We have a little bamboo forest, so we've used thick bamboo canes as stakes, and we've tied the vines to the stakes with twine. Putting a lot of ties in place helps keep the vines straight as you can see in the picture at right above.

We're very lucky to have a neighbor, named Brian, who is a winemaker at a high-end vineyard. He's been very generous with time and advice.

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