Monday, August 16, 2010

Going Back in Time Takes a While

Finally, after four years of planning and work, I have mowed a row of grapes. Illahe’s friend and teamster Mark Sougstad, who is driving in the picture above, handed me the lines and walked in front of me with his hat held above Doc’s head so I could aim his ears down the middle of the row. The bar of the mower clacks loudly but Doc doesn’t make a sound and the mower bumps around, much more than the tractor. Whereas some of the parts on Marvin Brisk’s mower are made in modern factories, the mower was assembled by hand and could have been done with different parts from the 19th century. I would guess that no other winery is approaching pure sustainability in this way.

As you’ll note from the other picture, Doc and Bea are pulling a wagon in between bales of food. We did have a tractor bale those things, so we still put some diesel into the project, but with only a few acres of hay and about four acres of pasture, a sack of oats and the occasional apple, our team should be able to mow the bottom 30 acres of vineyard next year.

That’s a big ‘should’ since so far we’ve only mowed an acre. I hope to get up to three acres mowed this year and at least the reserve grapes pulled up to the winery by horse.

Mark plans to take Doc and Bea down to California to do some horse logging next month and have them back before harvest. They’ll have more practice and be healthier when next year rolls around. If we can mow 30 acres a few times we may save a few gallons of diesel. I’ll work on the math when quantity matters.

Now, only quality matters. We have never been closer to bringing true Oregon terroir into your bottle. Let us know when you want to come thank winemakers Doc and Bea.

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