I can’t stand it. It’s like killing off one baby to ensure the survival of the other, but which one do I choose? The eldest? the youngest? The strongest? The tallest? Agony, guilt, it’s all there and finally, when you pluck up your courage, close your eyes and do the deed, there are thousands of others waiting to be cast out of the gene pool in order to achieve a vinous master race. Cuvee Aryan here we come. (Well it is Chardonnay.)
Yes! Well kind of. You just have to connect a suction hose from the dam to a huge pump complete with doser unit, anti-syphon and space age controller; then connect that to the 3 zone solenoid switch unit, (one of which the cows stood on) and then bury 2 x 150m x 2″ polypipe (why does it come in length by the metre but diameter by the inch?) followed by around 250m of 1″ poly which then needed to be replaced with 2″ as it couldn’t deliver enough volume into which you drill 85 holes, insert 85 grommits plus take-offs to short lengths of 16mm tube (aha! It doesn’t all come in inches then?) with no holes which you then join to 9km of 16mm dripper hose, turn the thing on and VOILA! Water comes out. See? Simple!
While we have had plenty of rain and soil moisture is good, I am still anxious to get the irrigation up and running. When it dries off it will do so quickly, even if the Bureau aren’t quite forecasting El Nino conditions.
So the team are out again, running dripper lines as fast as they can go. If only I could get my dog Barney to drag them down the hill it would save me some serious k’s. Mind you, I get a good look in every single vine guard while I am doing so.
I have always felt that a project like this must be more than just vines (shock horror!) and that the whole property must have a wow factor. So with this in mind, and it having been hours since we planted anything, the poplar trees were planted last year, (see out of the nursery) on the south side of the vineyard. The north side, where the entrance drive will eventually be, requires something shorter; tall enough to provide a wind break but not shading. Not wanting to waste an opportunity to produce something useful, we have decided on an avenue of various nuts and olives. Almonds are in, as are some hazelnuts. Ironically, (as this property was originally destined to be an olive farm,) I have no olives at the moment so they will have to wait.
I know there is still a long way to go, and arguably there always will be, but still I feel fantastic and excited about what we have achieved so far. I wonder how many people in life can say they built their dream? Well mine is built so I thought I would try to tell the story so far with a few pictures. Enjoy. I have.
I came across this beautifully written blog from Scalawine (click to read) which has some good insights into the virtues (or otherwise) of various classifications of producers in Champagne. In particular, their support of Domaine or Single Grower Champagnes clarifies many of the decisions made on this vineyard. A great read for a bad weather day…and believe me, this is a bad weather WEEK!!
The count down is on to planting and the team is all lined up for Saturday. I’ve been pushing as hard as I can to get enough wires up, pipes laid, fences run. NOW it decides to rain?…and blow…and everything else. So close now and I’ll be stuffed if the weather is going to beat me but the weather man says more of this to come.