Paloma Vineyard Tag

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Last year we cleared some fir trees that were shading an area of the Merlot; we decided to plant a small block of Syrah on the cleared area as an experiment. Carolyn and Jim Pride, with their wine maker Bob Foley, bought some bulk Merlot wine made from our grapes that we had sold to another winery. Bob finished the wine and blended it with Pride’s Cabernet Sauvignon. This purchase will be a major event for us, but we won’t know it for two more years.

Before this year, we had a contract with our friends across the road, the Schweigers, who would send their foreman and crawler over to do work around the vineyard. We would have to stop traffic and lay heavy boards across the road so he could drive from their vineyard to ours. This year, we bought a Fiat Crawler so we could do the spraying and other work ourselves. Jim told the salesman that if he could teach Barbara to drive the tractor, we would take it.

We had been coming to St. Helena from Midland, Texas (our home at the time) since 1983, staying and working on the property from a few days to a few weeks at a time. This year we decided that the vineyard needed full-time supervision, so we rented an apartment in St. Helena and Barbara started working on the vineyard from January through harvest. Jim continued his business as a petroleum geologist in Midland, Texas and came to St. Helena to help as time permitted. This year we also cleared the last five acres of vineyard and burned the brush and logs during the winter. The most gratifying event

In the spring, we planted 3,555 Merlot vines that were one-year old bench grafts. At the same time, we planted 945 Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The Cabernet was a clone from Germany that was planted in the original vineyard at Inglenook. Both were planted on AXR-1 rootstock. Unfortunately for us, by the end of 1985 the wine industry discovered that AXR-1 rootstock was not phylloxera resistant. A small workshop and storage shed was constructed to house our tools and for a place where we can get out of inclement weather when working in the vineyard. By summer we found out that our well was not adequate to irrigate the new

17 acres of rugged, untamed mountain-top land was purchased. Ten acres of the property were cleared and the steeper areas were terraced. We put in two ten-thousand gallon cement water tanks at the top of the vineyard to hold water for future irrigation and a six-foot high deer fence was constructed around the entire property – unfortunately it doesn’t always work.