Our Pinot Noir fruit has set at Gantz Family Vineyards, so while we wait for veraison, when are fruit will turn from hard green berries to soft purple ones, we’re doing clean up to make sure our vines stay healthy. That means suckering.
The bulk of suckering is done by Celeste, who listens to her Audible books while she walks the rows, snapping or pruning off the new growth below the irrigation line on each and every of our 7,145 plants. The unwanted growth on the clones, which grow the Pinot Noir grapes, are easy to snap off. The suckers off the phylloxera-resistant rootstock are “suckers”, indeed; they need to be dug up from where they’ve gotten buried and then cut off with pruning shears. It usually takes Celeste 20-30 minutes to clean a row.
Clay has been digging bowls, or molcajetes, around the base of young vines to insure that all the water goes straights to their roots. He does that on his hands and knees.
“So much of the stuff we do has to be done to each and every plant,” Celeste said. It’s a labor, but it’s a labor of love.
Have a tedious chore? Celeste's solution is to listen to an Audible book. She has 170 in her collection, but these are her favorites.
- The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe - Everyone is unlikable and instantly recognizable.
- The Brief History of the Dead by Thomas Brockmeier - This is a hard book to stop thinking about and has a mind-blowing ending, even when you can see it coming.
- Carrie by Stephen King - A favorite since I was 19 and read by my favorite Carrie, Sissy Spacek
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - Autism is at the core of this novel, yet the novel is not about autism.
- A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore - What would you do if you woke up one day and found out you were Death?
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty - This book is scary every single time I read it. How many times? Maybe 15.
- Fool by Christopher Moore - Hah!
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - A lovely story about a scary subject.
- The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard - Quintessential Leonard.
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - When magic is real.
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - Okay, this is a guilty pleasure.
- The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break: A Novel by Steven Sherrill - Wonderful, intriguing little story about what the gods do when time marches on.
- Night Fall by Nelson MeMille - My favorite reader, Scott Brick, reading one of my favorite authors writing about my favorite detective, John Corey.
- One Second After by William R. Forstchen - This inspired me to ask for a manual hand-pump on our well.
- Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King - When the Apocalypse happens to just one town
- You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore - Hah-Hah!