Greg Schultz
 
June 5, 2014 | Greg Schultz

Big Changes

We have a lot to talk about and some very exciting news! For the past year or so we have blogged monthly concerning the development of our first vineyard.  We talked about the planning, preparation, layout, and installation and how we were doing a lot of the work ourselves.  Our last blog (prior to this one) was posted in February—in the past three months there have been some big changes and a lot has transpired.

Since we first visited southern Oregon in 2009, one of our very favorite areas has been the Applegate Valley, just west of our home in Medford.  Not only is it beautiful (mountains, rivers, creeks and farms), it is great wine country!  In the winter, the Applegate tends to be a little warmer and a lot sunnier than other southern Oregon valleys.  And it is because of this weather “truth" that we made an afternoon drive there back in February looking for a nice trail to hike.  We found one at the upper end of Slagle Creek Road—and we also found a “For Sale” sign on a beautiful piece of farm property!

To make a long story short, we bought it!  Now what to do about our “vineyard in progress”?  With four months to go before our vines were to arrive from the nursery, we had a decision to make.  Do we continue with the original installation plan or “move” the vineyard to the new site?  It was not an easy decision—a lot of hard work had gone into the project--but after careful deliberation, we decided that long-term, the new site offers substantial business opportunities and would make a great place to live.  We decided to move the vineyard.

With the experience we gained from the first vineyard, we know the steps needed to turn a pasture into a vineyard. We also know that with a short timeframe, more of the work will have to be done by others.  The pasture had and in-ground sprinkler system with 130 sprinklers anchored to steel posts hammered into the ground—these all had to be removed.  

 

Tom Fay "excavating" sprinkler posts

Next, with soil compacted by years of cattle grazing, the pasture needed to be ripped and disced in preparation for the vineyard.  The local organic dairy provided equipment and man-power to complete these steps and they are grazing forty of their heifers in our pasture.  

Noble Dairy heifers

Next, we had to lay out the vineyard.  We chose a NNE-SSW row orientation, pulled the pencil rods from the “old” vineyard and began installation.  

Laying out the vineyard rows

We recently completed the installation of 4,000 pencil rods—even though we are planting 1 acre of plants this year, we had to think toward the future when we will plant more. The ripped/disced area is about 6 acres and the initial layout covers about 3 acres of that.  

Brown area is disced vineyard site

Tom Fay of Fay and Company is designing and installing the vineyard irrigation system.  Herb Quady and his Applegate Vineyard Management crew are installing the trellis system—line stakes, end posts, and trellis wires. 

Applegate Vineyard Management installing end posts

There have been a few sleepless nights, but we are making good progress and expect to be ready for our plants when they arrive in a few weeks.  

One day closer to a vineyard...whew!!!

Greg and Debbie

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