Sunday, September 14, 2008

Naming "Grape Hill"

Grape Hill was the Edward Bates family home outside St. Louis. Judge Bates was a western pioneer who helped St. Louis grow from its roots as a frontier outpost to America's Gateway to the West. During the Civil War, Bates served the country as Attorney General in the Lincoln administration. When Bates moved to Washington, he did so out of his sense of duty to hs country but he hated every minute of being away from Grape Hill. He served well, ably and admirably, but never joined the Washington elite. His heart was with his family at Grape Hill.

Bates and his one wife had seventeen children together, eight of whom survived and lived to have many more children of their own. He loved nothing in life more than being at Grape Hill with his family. Even after marrying and having children of their own, the entire growing Bates family always considered Grape Hill as their primary home. I love that. I want that. I love this land. Hence, we happily adopted the name. It is an honest name for a western wheat farm with the lovely vineyard on the hill.

Our good friend, the architect Steve Cox, commented how it seems odd to him that so many places in wine settings the world over are designed like villas in Tuscany and have names like places in French romance novels. We really like Tuscan architecture and French romances, but Steve's comment hits home...we're good with our clean and straight-forward "agricultural architecture" and "Grape Hill".

What's funny is that "Grape Hill" always comes out of the mouth sounding like "Grape Pill" (it's that powerful "P"). Good medicine, I say.

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