Sunday, April 19, 2009

Busy busy fun.

I choose this color for Spring is in the air. Carlos and Ricardo and their families have just finished pruning the vines and David is going to weed the roadway up to the house. I'm sure hoping that Sue's Girls' Weekend coming up is great fun for her and her buddies. How could it be otherwise?
This is going to be her first time ever without me. Between construction and the vines and tending the fields, I may have spent as much as two months on my own, but this is a first. We decided not to have our "Farmhouse Weekend" this year, but we will both be faithfully back together for Balloon Weekend. By then, I'm hoping that we will have in the new windows, too! The outside shower and other advances will follow during the summer.
Big Table will see lots of sunsets, wood fires, and light of every shape and color reflected off cheerful wineglasses.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Whitman College

Liliana flew over with her friends Mel and Kelsey to visit Whitman during the open house for prospective freshmen. Both her brothers got in to Whitman and neither wanted to attend. Liliana is also lukewarm. Of the three girls, only Mel seems to want to apply.

I don't get it. The quality of the programs, the close-knit campus life, the passionate educators...Whitman is wonderful! From all the universities we visited with the boys and all the conversations that we have had with other students, only two other colleges have rivaled the abounding joy we keep hearing about from the students. They love Whitman. Very similar responses to Middlebury and to Wesleyan, but rare! Maybe Liliana knows that I want to make her the official gopher-getter if she attends...

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Rainy, windy, cold...brrrrr...and wonderful all the while. Must never again get caught up in anything that keeps me off Grape Hill. Here now and feeling right about the world. Snow on the Blues. We're into April yet hardly anything has started to bud. The vines remain dormant, so I got lucky in being able to prune this late without concerns.

Grape Hill has not changed, except that we put up "Ramon" (the working name until somebody comes up with another). I tried last night to mount the Bordeaux boxes high up on the center pillar and then realized that this was not worthy of a life or death commitment...balancing on one foot with level and hammer, nails in teeth, twelve feet about the concrete floor and leaning around to measure, level, hammer while hooking my other foot around the pillar. Nope. So, our memories of Bouliac are much closer to ground-level. Still, it is such a pleasure to look at these wineboxes! Each time I glance at these makes me think of collecting soil from Ch Margaux, Ch Mouton, Ch Latour, Ch Laffitte, Ch Haut Brion, Ch Petrus, Ch Cheval Blanc, and Ausone (maybe?). Midnight, in the rain, no signs to go by, and barking dogs getting too close for comfort...maybe Ausone, maybe not...

Soil from each of these vineyards went into the loess soil here in the Little Vineyard. I tried the cabernet this week, the '08 that just came off malolactic fermentation. It is rounding out and far less of the tartness. Not a huge wine and certainly not something noteable, but this could blend really nicely with the syrah. The syrah, on the other hand, gets me on my tippy toes...blueberry and violets, bacon fat and cassis...pretty pretty girl!

I hardly ever go to wineries anymore, tasting more often just with friends or visiting winemakers with friends from elsewhere when we are here together. I really like wine tasting, it's just that Grape Hill is three-dimensional and not a wine thing per se. Walla Walla Brewery is doing some terrific beers. I had my first martini, my first hard liquor drink ever at Grape Hill, the other night. Didn't feel odd in the least. More than anything, I don't drink a whole lot anywhere, so the wine thing is really about the land and farming and connections and celebration rather than about consuming.

There are times when I feel that "king of the world" thing, knowing that having this land is the product of my vision, my effort, and it is REAL. But much more often, I feel privileged to have this Grape Hill in our lives. I feel the responsibility of stewardship and I feel immensely protective, yet the Native American's have it right...nobody can own the land or the sky or the water's flow.