It’s long past time to introduce the Nelson County vines, but before I start, let me once again acknowledge that it’s a bit of a stretch to refer to seven vines as a vineyard. But hey, it’s a stretch I’m willing to make. One is a vine, two or more is a vineyard, right?
The Nelson County property is the site for the real vineyard we plan to put in, and the seven vines we’ve planted fall into the category of experimental. As my wife, the Vineyard Goddess, puts it, we want to make our mistakes on these vines, so that we’ll know what we’re doing when we plant the main vineyard.
The vineyard itself is a small plot, surrounded by a deer fence, with five Cab Franc vines and two Mammolo Toscanos. The Cab Franc were purchased from Double A Vineyards, a nursery in New York state. They were ordered for delivery in the middle of April, a bit late in the season, but it took me a little time to get my arms around the idea that I could actually get everything done in time to plant vines this year. We ordered 12 in all, and the other seven were planted at our Fairfax property, where I thought I could keep a close eye on them.
I had orginally planned to follow the Ozzie and Harriet “Nelsons” theme all the way through(Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky, and David Nelson; Ozzy and Sharon Ozbourne, etc.), in naming these vines, but I decided there were too many other Nelsons I wanted to include, particularly Nelson Mandela, pictured above. So, meet the other Cab Franc vines, each named after one Nelson or another:
And now for the Mammolos, the vines that the Vineyard Goddess loves the most. These are special to both of us, because they were gifts from Gabriele Rausse, the father of the Virginia Wine industry, after a class on grafting at Monticello. The Mammolos are a somewhat obscure variety of Italian grapes, usually used in blending. The association with Jefferson’s home on the “Little Mountain,” and with the great Gabriele Rausse, is what makes them to special to us, and I am pretty sure that if the property was threatened by a forest fire, the Vineyard Goddess would rush out to make sure the Mammolos were safe before worrying about the house.
While they are part of the Nelson vineyard, since they are Italian, VG decided they should have Italian names. I know better than to argue.
These poor vines went something like five weeks without rain, yet held up magnificently. We believe they will make great progress next year, and that, in their third year, they will bear fruit that we can harvest and use to make actual, honest-to-God wine.