Archive for July 28th, 2011

Meet the Vines: Fairfax — The Magnificent Seven

Well, I thought it was time to start introducing everyone to the vines I’ve planted, starting with the Fairfax vineyard.  As I’ve said in the past, seven vines hardly constitutes a vineyard, and yet it’s big enough to yield enough grapes for five gallons of wine — about 30 bottles — when I get my first real harvest in three or four years.  Not too shabby.

Phoenix, the Vineyard Dog, resting behind Vine 6 (the Big Mama)

The vines in Fairfax are growing like Topsy, and I wonder sometimes if there’s too much vigor in this vineyard.  Vines themselves are capable of amazing growth.  They can grow higher than the trees in our yard, and we have really tall trees.  But that’s not what we’re looking for.  In these first few years, we want to funnel the energy of the vine into the development of the root system, and after that, into the grapes themselves.  What we don’t want is for the vine itself to grow out of control, stealing vigor from the roots in the first years and the grapes thereafter.

The rootstock on these vines is of a type known as 101-14, which is a low vigor rootstock.  And basically, I think we’re doing okay.  We’ll see.  But for now, let me introduce you to the Magnificent 7 (and believe me, they are magnificent!), one vine at a time.  FYI, they are all Cab Franc.

First, here’s the back row, closest to the backyard fence (you can see a patch of Day Lilies, with a few unpulled weeds, on the other side of the fence).  This row also has a rose bush between the two vines.

Vine 2

Vine 1









And here’s the middle row.  The vines are all tied to faux bamboo poles.  The large stake next to them is a leftover from the initial planting, before I had a fence up and was worried that the lawn service might mow them down without a few obstacles.

Vine 4

Vine 3









Finally, the third row, three vines strong.  The middle vine is the giant of the group, nearly five feet tall, and the last is the runt of the litter.  But I have every confidence that the little guy will produce great wine grapes someday, maybe the best in the vineyard.

Vine 7 (the runt)

Vine 5


Vine 6- The Big Mama

So there it is.  The vineyard ain’t huge, but it has loads of personality!  And here’s a couple of shots that illustrate the humble beginnings of this patch of vines.

And here's a wider shot. Note the wheelbarrow in the foreground, a sure sign that I'm about to get my hands dirty.


Only a few months ago, it sure didn't look much like a vineyard

July 28, 2011 | By | Reply More
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