Lest our website gives you the impression that farming a vineyard is one idyllic day blending dreamily into the next...it is not always! At times, farming seems like one battle after another: fixing things that break at the worst times, staving off pestilence, chasing away wildlife looking for a free meal, etc.
Our most recent challenge has been our ag well, the source of water for irrigating our vines. According to the drilling logs, our ag well was dug in 1974, almost 40 years ago. It has always been as fussy as an old car, needing TLC, bailing wire and lots of personal attention. This makes life exciting (and exhausting) because our irrigation takes place at night when energy demand and costs are lower. I enjoy stargazing, but staying up all night to babysit the well is not my idea of the best time, especially when I have to go to work the next day! Nevertheless, farming is a labor of love, and I was willing to show ol’ Bessy (the well) some love if she would only get me through the season.
Alas, that wasn’t to be. With a full crop on the vines and some of the season’s hottest days forecasted, our beloved well began to give up the ghost. We needed to move quickly to find a new source of water in order to insure the survival of our crop.
First stop was the county for a permit. Wouldn’t you know, that probably was the hardest part of the whole deal. Next stop was our neighbor (and well driller), Ed Fisch of Fisch Bros. Drilling. From Ed and his crew I learned that drilling a well is a physically demanding and noisy process. Ed drilled a well about 15-inches wide and 380-feet deep. My neighbor and fellow grower Ted Klopp could hear the dawn-to-dusk drilling from his house a half-mile away. “Well, everyone knows you’re here now!” he observed with a smile.
The final stop was Bob Plum and his crew from Lucianni Pump. They installed the pump and motor (a pretty stunning piece of stainless steel that pulls 45 gallons-a-minute), and hooked everything up. Late last week, we were able to turn the pumps on for our new well. The vines received a much-needed drink, and I was finally able to relax a bit and rest up for the next oh-so-worthwhile battle.