Laurie Jervis: A year in the life of a new vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley – Part 3 | Homes and Lifestyle
[Noozhawk’s note: In early February, Will Henry told Noozhawk that he was about to plant the first estate vineyard for Lumen Wines, the label he co-owns and produces with Lane Tanner, and we jumped at the chance to document the process from Day One. Following is the second article in a series about the life of a new vineyard by Noozhawk contributing writer Laurie Jervis and photographer Len Wood. Click here for the first article.]
Warner Henry Vineyard is in the ground.
At around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 13, a team of workers from a regional vineyard management company showed up and got to work.
When I arrived that day at 10:30 am, the crew were working west, starting with the row on the easternmost edge of the north plot.
Fifteen workers, bundled up in sweatshirts against the cold morning fog and wearing masks, were digging holes and planting vines – better known at this point as rootstock.
The entire trellis system – end posts, stakes, irrigation line and transmitters – was ready. A test of the irrigation system had left round patches of water in the sandy soil.
I watched the crew members as they walked down rows 15-21, chatting to each other but working at a brisk pace.
Ready-to-plant vines at Warner Henry Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. (Photo by Len Wood / Noozhawk)
Each worker carried a five gallon orange pickle bucket filled with plants. I counted the time it took each person to plant a rootstock – one minute – from digging the hole with a long shovel, kneeling to place the vine, then filling the hole with soil to keep it in. square.
Lumen Wines, the wine label jointly owned by Will Henry and Lane Tanner, will have its first estate vineyard at Warner Henry, a 5-acre vineyard on 11 acres off East Clark that Henry and his wife, Kali Kopley, bought in 2018.
The project was planned for years and was the dream of Henry’s late father, businessman Warner Henry, who died in August 2020 at the age of 82.
Henry and Kopley named their vineyard Warner Henry to honor his legacy.
The couple hired Jason Muscio of Chalky Ridge Vineyard Management to plant the vineyard, Henry said on May 17 when I called to monitor the crews’ progress.
“He also runs a vineyard at Clark Avenue and Telephone Road, so his equipment is nearby and he can walk through there,” Henry said.
Also, “he is very patient with me because I am a beginner” when it comes to planting a vineyard, he added.
Since five acres of rootstock were buried on May 17, the only step left, he said, was to attach grow tubes to each. The tubes protect young plants from extreme weather conditions and pests such as rabbits and weeds.
What was the total number of rootstocks needed to complete the two sections of the vineyard, I wondered?
A misty morning for planting at Warner Henry Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. (Photo by Len Wood / Noozhawk)
While Henry was using Google Earth to map the vineyard – which has plants spaced three feet and eight feet apart between each row of vines – the mapping was not entirely accurate because of an “oak here or there. ‘a telephone pole over there “.
In fact, he ended up with an additional 100 plants after the crews were finished, Henry said.
The most planted was Mt. Clone Eden, followed by clones 667 and 828, respectively.
The 3.5 acre north parcel has Mt. Eden, 667 and 115 clones, and the 1.5 acre southern plot has more clones 23 and 828. Henry had planned to use clone 2-A but instead used 828.
The well is reliable despite having been idle for three years, which “was not ideal” as sediment gathered in the water, Henry noted. But a strong filtration system works to remove any dirt in the lines.
It is the end of May, all the pieces are buried and the future of Warner Henry Vineyard looks bright.
Coming next month: possibility of interference and three-phase current.
Laurie Jervis: A Year in the Life of a New Santa Maria Valley Vineyard – Part 2
Laurie Jervis: A year in the life of a new vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley – Part 1
– Laurie Jervis is a Noozhawk columnist. She tweets to @lauriejervis and can be reached via [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.