Still Crazy After All These Years
Ciera (Tammy Wynette) and her roomate Julie (Cher) in L.A., 2004.
The story of our vineyard and winery is built around the support of those who allowed (and even encouraged) us to dream big. To those who didn't mention how crazy it was to plant a vineyard without experience or financial backing. Thanks guys! We're still crazy after all these years.
Syrah cuttings prior to planting, Spring 2005
Trimming all of these sticks down to size was pure insanity. We did nothing but clip. As mentioned in the last blog, we called it our "A.B.C.s" or "Always Be Clipping". What wasnt mentioned was the "D" part of the equation. As the hours rolled on and our fingers began to blister our mantra became the "A.B.C.D.s" or "Always Be Clipping Drunk". My wife (then girlfriend) Ciera took most of the photos during this time, but she was there helping us clip away.
(l to r) Laura Kay Swanson, me and Tom Eaton. Thanks Guys!
After days of non-stop clipping came non-stop planting. I had the vineyard block surveyed wide - 72'x72' if I recall correctly, so we took a long tape and sunk popsicle sticks every three feet down the rows for vine placement. At each popsicle stick I pounded a hole in the ground with a heavy duty bar, where we put the vine cutting. Rinse. Repeat. Wipe hands on pants.
Pounding holes for vine cuttings
We had ample rain in this winter and you can see the saturation of the soil in the photos during this time. Thank heavens too, because it saved us huge amounts of time. Dry soil would have been our undoing.
A little baby Syrah cutting, popping out & yearning to be a vine!
We have a decent amount of video, and a lot of it is hilarious. We all had the right spirit. Good friends subjecting themselves to endless manual labor in order to play a game that can turn a rich man poor. Yes this was an almost idiotic, impossible dream, but it goes to show what one can achieve if they put their mind and body into it with all of their heart.
Mark and Ciera around the time of planting.