When we originally planted the back block on the vineyard (Block 5), Celeste was adamant about the balance between grape rows and open space. We have a large family, and she wanted to preserve open land for camping tents, our gardening and orchard efforts and the occasional game of frisbee, volleyball or football.
But After a few not-so-subtle hints from me, a few carefully-chosen words from our social media manager and the promise of a larger supply of quality Pinot Noir fruit (which appealed to her bookkeeping nature), Celeste relented. We've just finished planting a small addition to our Block 5 vineyard.
The new block consists of a modest expansion of Block 5, also to be planted to 420A and Pinot Noir (Calera clone), and a micro-block (5A?) to be planted to a TBD Chardonnay clone on 1616C. The next effect is that once these additions are established, we will have a little Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit for our own use. I don't sell wine, but I enjoy making it for personal consumption, the enjoyment of friends and family, and the occasional wine competition.
I recognize that Chardonnay enjoys a mixed reputation at present. While the ABC -- Anything But Chardonnay -- “cognoscenti” argue that the grape is over-exposed and lifeless, it remains the most popular wine in the United States. Personally, I think the ABC crowd is nuts—a well-done Chardonnay is delicious, and I love to work with the grape. On this point, I would say that the hoi polloi have it over the “experts.”
The best thing about our vineyard expansion is there is still plenty of room for tents and a game! With every inch of our six-acre ranch now being put to good use, we can now focus solely on growing the highest quality fruit.