Sunday, May 08, 2011


I was recently rereading SEASONS OF A FINGER LAKES WINERY by John Hartsock. There's a part where Gary Barletta, the owner of Long Point Winery, while he's trying to buy and bring home a 1,500 gallon water tank is asking himself why he got into this business. There are many days like that.

Saturday morning was one of them.

This Saturday we had to wake up at 5am to get all the preparation ready for the planting of 600 new vines. The winemaker, Steve Casscles arrived at 7am, and hen the field workers, and foreman Jesse, arrived a few minutes later. Steve was going to unearth vines we'd grown in our own nursery, and then replant the bed after planting the vineyards. We were also replacing some vines that had suffered winter kill and planting new rows as well.

Unfortunately, I had my own worries. Hudson Farmers Market opened this Saturday, and I was the selected sales person. We do five or six farmers markets a weekend in the summer, and we were stretched thin with everything going on. So I was off to the market.

It was good to see people I hadn't seen all winter. Some people had more things to sell than others, but the market is always a great place to see what's happening in the agricultural world. Rhubarb and mustard greens were in season, and some folks had a small amount of apples, and scallions, asparagus, and other assorted greens. I ate several croissants, bought some homemade teas, a pie, and a few other things.

The market over, I raced home. Because today we were also bottling. Ralph and Maureen were bottling Riesling and Gewurztraminer. We did two small batches, enough to keep the wheels running. With the harsh, cold winter, and all the snow, we''re behind in bottling, so we need to keep pressing now. We'll be bottling all spring, almost every weekend. I helped move a barrel with Ralph and Bryan, and then brought over all the empty cases, with my sons, in order to help set up the second run.

From there I went out to the vineyard and helped Steve plant the new nursery plants hoping will be growing root stock for next season. That took the rest of the afternoon. And though it's not incredibly complicated, it takes a toll on your haunches and your back. Tough work!

When it was all over, I was alone. The boys, who'd been digging holes all day in the vineyard alongside our field workers, decided they would play video games for the remainder of their waking hours.

Dominique was in Catskill, at the Point, selling wine until 6pm. The Catskill Wine and Cheese Festival was going on. So I nuked myself some hot dogs, with mustard and relish, and a couple of beers, and I put my feet up on the coffee table and watched the Kentucky Derby (about ten minutes including the actual Run for the Roses itself) until I fell asleep.

Dominique came home around 7pm. We all went and got burgers and came home and fell asleep. Ugh! When people think about the wine business, they think it's romantic...doesn't sound romantic to me. But for some reason, I do love it.


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