January 4, 2013
I've heard it said that we should do on New Year's
Day what we hope to do more of in the coming year. Well, I'm off
to a good start! We visited with Brian's cousins on Tuesday. I had
a lovely lunch at the Ruby Pear Tea Parlor with my mother, aunt
and sister-in-law on Wednesday. Another lunch with a friend on Thursday
and dinner here with friends that evening. I hope, therefore, this
year holds lots of gathering times with family and friends!
January 7, 2013
It's time again to total up last year's numbers for
all types of filing including the TTB Report of Operations due the
15th. That's certainly not much time after the holiday rush to pull
things together but at least my winemaking records are up to date.
Our sales reports show a 41% increase over 2012 -- not even close
to where we need to be, but a nice jump! The "Running Balance Sheet"
was amended to help generate totals for expenses, capital purchases,
January 10, 2013
Snow cover has persisted since Christmas. This warmer
day focused on attending a funeral. The tearful goodbye included
a tribute given by the youngest grandson recalling stories told
him by the war veteran. It was a memorable moment for all. Later,
we stacked boxes full of used blue wine bottles and headed for Strategic
Materials in Indianapolis. Cobalt glass collected here is sent to
Pennsylvania and made into bottles -- likely by the same source
from which we bought them. Now that's the way recycling should work!
It's worth the trip to Indy to make that happen. I couldn't help
but reflect back to the memorial service earlier, seeing how recycling
what is valuable - from one generation into the next - takes some
effort on everyone's part.
January 12, 2013
After dinner and Bible study with friends in Lebanon,
we drove north on US 31 arriving in Covert, Michigan about midnight.
We were on a wood chopping adventure with a goal of cutting enough
to keep my cousin's woodburner going for the rest of the heating
season. Anita provided nice meals and hospitality at her country
estate - one of several properties available as a vacation
rental. Pretty chilly up there with lows of 17. After the
work was done, just the girls made a trip to South Haven to check
out an "olive oil tasting" store! Brian enjoyed the satellite television.
On our way back through Indiana, we stopped for a tasting at McClure's
Orchard & Winery, grabbing 2 wines and a sparkling cider.
Came home to lots of rain and flooding.
January 19, 2013
First day of pruning yesterday. This year's strategy
is to shorten all Concord canes with a first pass leaving 10 buds
on each cane. These long canes require two cuts generally anyway
since they are often tangled and require both arms to remove and
wrangle into the wheelbarrow. Also leaving a long segment buys me
some late frost protection for the lowest most desirable buds. Then
I will move to the LaCrescent vines to prune all the way back, returning
finally to the Concords for their final trim. At least that's the
January 30, 2013
All the year-end forms are filed and taxes paid...even
the state use tax! I hope they're all happy.
year of the comets
February 6, 2013
NASA released an article today stating we could experience
two naked-eye comets this year. The first in March and the second
in November, which some are predicting could be the "best comet
ever." Both comets originate from the Oort cloud and will have their
first encounter with the sun. The Naval Research Lab states, "a
new comet...is always an unknown quantity equally capable of spectacular
displays or dismal failures." An asteroid is also expected to make
a visible near miss very soon on February 15th. I suppose my long-time
interest in astronomy has something to do with our winery's name.
February 7, 2013
In addition to pruning I need an indoor winter project.
This year I have two: 1) construction planning, and 2) writing a
company event policy. The thought of dealing with construction again
makes my stomach ache but we must charge ahead. We have spoken with
an installer for spray foam insulation to the interior of our metal
structure and are waiting on an estimate. I want all my contractors
lined up before I open another building permit. Project 2, the event
policy, will get some details down in writing regarding hosting
outdoor events here at the winery. The photo is a little table decor
from a gathering last year.
February 14, 2013
It's Valentine's Day at Winter Market, held at Smith
Family Farms in Pendleton. The party barn is full of festive red
blossoms, scarves, candies and cupcakes! The Smiths are great hosts,
generously providing the vendors with some hot soup for supper.
Yum, yum and lots of fun!
February 15, 2013
On the morning drive to work yesterday, many Russians
were witness to a meteor
event in Chelyabinsk. Amateur photographers, police vehicles,
and security cameras all captured video of the rumbling fireball
as it shot across the sky looking bigger than the sun! That meteor
is supposedly unrelated to the expected near-miss asteroid passing
TODAY at only 17,200 miles away--nearer than some satellite orbits.
This space rock, named 2012 DA14, is thought to be about 45 meters
in diameter and has had NASA's attention since its discovery last
year. "This is a record-setting close approach," says the Jet Propulsion
Lab, "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never
seen an object this big get so close to Earth." Unfortunately, the
asteroid will only achieve a brightness magnitude of less than 7
making it slightly less than visible by the naked eye. But Russia's
meteor was pretty cool, right?
February 22, 2013
Enjoying the colors of winter today. With the snow
gone in the vineyard for now, the grass is a pale yellow and the
sky a peaceful gray, like someone bumped down the contrast and
saturation. But to the southwest, storm clouds create a dark blue
background to the white trunks of the sycamore trees. A sky like
that would drive me indoors in the summer but is not as fearsome
in winter. Four rows are trimmed now in Concords.
March 5, 2013
The green tips of the daffodils are breaking
into the sunshine. This signals to me that spring is fast approaching
and I had better wrap up my winter projects. Our construction
goal of adding insulation to the building was detoured. The spray
foam comes in two versions, open- and closed-cell. Each has its
advantages and disadvantages. But it became apparent we should
first do what we can on the exterior to create a watertight shell,
maybe a flexible ceramic paint. We have two people estimating
this process for us.
March 12, 2013
The first of the year's comets is making a conjunction
in the sky with the new crescent moon in the sky tonight. The
comet should be visible to the naked eye just to the left of the
moon as it sets almost due west. Unfortunately, we are having
thunderstorms here in central Indiana this evening. I hope others
on the planet are getting good
photos of this.
March 19, 2013
The first draft of our winery event policy was sent
to the insurance company for their comments. The first-pass pruning
in Concords is done and I've started in the LaCrescent block.
The weather has much improved and I was able to be in vineyard
for 9 of the last 11 days!
March 24, 2013
Celebrated the first day of spring Thursday with
a friend. A superb gift shop downtown Noblesville, The
Linden Tree, poured samples of hot tea into mini flowerpot
cups. So cute, and with decorated sugar cookies. Thanks, Barb,
for a fun outing! Happy Spring! Today, on Palm Sunday, we have
5 inches of snow!
March 26, 2013
Passover begins at sundown tonight. Although
we are not Jewish, after some study of the Old Testament I am
drawn to experiment with the festivals. Over the last decade,
I've grown comfortable with cooking lamb -- grilled outdoors over
charcoal is best by far. Bitter herbs take the form of a leafy
salad with vinaigrette dressing. Today I boiled 6 eggs. One egg
was shelled and placed on the show plate to symbolize the wholeness
of the Passover sacrifice. The others were put in a small plastic
container for later. The five eggs became sheep for one transporting
moment, standing crowded shoulder-to-shoulder in a pen.
"..In the day that I brought them out of the
land of Egypt... I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded
them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing
commanded I them, saying, 'Obey my voice, and I will be your God,
and ye shall be my people...'" JEREMIAH 7:22-23
April 6, 2013
We get many requests from people wanting used oak
barrels. They are hard to come by but today we had the rare opportunity
to buy some ourselves from a recently closed winery. It's unseasonably
warm today at 71 degrees, multiplying our enjoyment of the road
trip to someplace near Greencastle in pursuit of barrels. We relished
our conversation with the now-retired winemaker and met his faithful
German Shepherd dog. Had a great lunch at a diner nearby. In Indiana,
when in doubt, always order the tenderloin!
April 10, 2013
Bud swell in LaCrescents coincides with the opening
of the daffodils and forsythia. We had a hail storm today accompanied
with an eery constant thunder. It's hot and humid at 82 degrees.
I hate for summer to jump ahead like this! The last Winter Market
is tomorrow evening.
April 13, 2013
Today's expected appointment rolled down our driveway
in a revamped school bus painted up in festive Indianapolis Colts
style. Nineteen ladies disembarked where half took a vineyard tour
and half had a taste of wine before switching places. Too much fun!
A little later Dad, Ron and Clint pulled in with trucks, trailer,
tractor and postdriver -- all here to install endposts for the newest
vinerows. Thanks guys for all your hard work! Whew! What a full
driveway we had today!
April 15, 2013
Whenever my lunch and soap opera is interrupted with
breaking news I hold my breath. It's usually a gunman on a campus
somewhere. Today there is news of bombs at the Boston Marathon.
April 20, 2013
Lots of rain this week, almost 4 inches, has produced
the usual flow of surface water across our property between the
winery and the vineyard. Rubber boots get me through the temporary
creek. I'm forced to change sunscreens again due to a rash. Using
one with a lower SPF, having only physical barrier properties rather
than chemical action with the skin. We'll see. Sunscreen is a matter
of life and death for me. Indoors versus outdoors.
April 22, 2013
Pruning was completed in the LaCrescent vineyard today.
I will reward myself with a few days of landscape tending before
proceeding to other vines.
April 26, 2013
After making a list, I think I have isolated the ingredient
that causes my reaction in sunscreens. I saw a statement in a magazine
that said some reactions aren't to the active sunscreen but to some
other ingredient. So my list consisted of a spreadsheet 6 columns
wide where each column contained the ingredients of one product
-- 3 products which cause reactions and 3 which still have not.
By the time all the information was entered alphabetically, common
elements sharing the same line, I had a list of 112 unique ingredients.
And the culprit stood out clearly, being the only element in common
for the 3 offending products AND absent from the 3 non-offenders.
April 27, 2013
The wildflowers are thick under the sycamores. Visitor
traffic increases every week as spring beckons people out to the
country. I've enjoyed tidying up the herb garden by pulling weeds
and trimming back the Rose of Sharon. Uncovered strawberries today,
a little late in their opinion.
south 1/4 mile
May 4, 2013
We are fortunate to be situated near State Road 38
which is gaining fame for its annual Highway
38 Sale. Held in early May, this string of garage sales
is mingled with food vendors and anchor stores stretching from Noblesville
to New Castle. We decided to hop in for the first time, putting
a sign at the highway pointing south "1/4 mile." We drew as many
neighbors as sale-shoppers. Our crab apples, lilacs and dogwoods
were flowering for our guests. Some visitors were just as happy
to see our porta-potty!
May 13, 2013
for Life has become a tradition for the Harger and Lawrence
families. The weekend at beautiful Forest Park was a chilly one
but full of good food and camaraderie. The winery sponsored an auction
item again, this time a Party Package which sold for a nice bid!
Our event policy has been freshly posted online with the blessing
of both our insurance carrier and law firm. We're looking forward
to hosting our first wedding this summer!
May 16, 2013
Surveying some frost damage from Saturday and Sunday
nights with lows of 37. The frost seems to have claimed newly opened
buds up through some 2" shoots, but this is spotty. Not a big loss
like last spring. Longer shoots have survived and many target buds
are still tight due to delayed pruning. Further disappointments
on the construction front after getting estimates for ceramic painting.
Yikes! Very costly. We'll look at some examples of previous work
done by a contractor this weekend.
May 18, 2013
Celebrating the first day this season at the Noblesville
Farmer's Market! We're back in the same booth space as last year,
but we have new neighbors -- and we know them! Chad works with Brian
at his "real" job. The guys enjoy rolling their eyes as much as
Megan and I enjoy chatting. "All
Things Aly" features handcrafted hair fashions inspired
by their adorable daughter. On the other side of our booth, more
friends! The Isaacs family will be serving up snow cones and lemon
shake-ups to generate extra cash for the college-bound boys.
May 20, 2013
"Champagne, why are you so sad?" We have a cat who
has somehow broken his tail. Champagne's normally-upright happy
tail now hangs lifelessly, even brushing the floor. Called "rocking
chair syndrome," the break is actually high in his back where the
tail attaches to the spine and usually occurs from the tail being
caught while the cat jerks away. It can be a serious injury if the
nerves for bladder and bowel function are affected. Champagne is
in good hands at Noblesville Veterinary Clinic.
May 21, 2013
It is taking about 6 hours per row to "final prune"
the Concords. 8 rows are done. I'm having to cut off shoots now
that are already 12" long, way too much green. These last few rows
will likely not be as fruitful since the effort of bloom has been
spent in the wrong place or at least ripening of any fruit will
be several weeks behind the majority. Pruned 4 seedless vines near
the patio at the end of session today. These seedless vines are
known for persistent anthracnose so I carefully cleaned up everything
May 24, 2013
Champagne is home and isolated. A nice little poopy
in the litter box this morning means he will survive! Hallelujah!
Thank God! Thanks also to NVC
for all your help.
May 25, 2013
At market this morning, hosted a Patio Party at 1:30,
then worked a few hours in the vineyard. In other words, a perfect
May 29, 2013
Concord "2nd pass" pruning is done. Herbicide damage
is detected in the vineyard. Concord leaves have deformities on
leaves 3-6 nodes back, looks more like glyphosate than 2-4,D this
time. New tips seem normal. Norton vines have brown spots throughout,
maybe a reaction to a combination of what I've sprayed and what
May 30, 2013
Time to sucker already in LaCrescents. A few first
strawberries were picked today -- just enough to eat with ice cream!
so big it has its own moon
May 31, 2013
Another asteroid flyby today. This one is very spherical
and so big it has its own moon! A cool NASA
video captures the moon orbiting.
June 4, 2013
New wires are up in the 2nd and 3rd positions for
Norton and Swenson Red blocks. These vines are just now ready for
something greater. I have temporarily secured them to their new
heights but will be back to fine tune. Suckering in the Concords
this week. Being diligent to spray fungicide this wet spring. Rainfall
total is 4" above normal since January. Strawberries are coming
June 6, 2013
Noblesville Main Street introduces the first "Summer
Produce Market" beginning tonight and continuing every Thursday
evening (4-7 pm) through September. This market, different from
Saturday's market, is very food-focused with an European atmosphere.
The new urban park is a closed alleyway on the south side of the
courthouse square. The concept is for downtown workers to walk through
and pick up fresh fixings for their evening meal. Lots of ready-to-eat
food as well, and of course, wine. This venue is allowing us to
offer free sampling. We have big hopes for this opportunity!
June 15, 2013
After setting up this Saturday morning, Brian handled
the Noblesville Farmer's Market alone today while I prepared for
an afternoon Patio Party. This family gathering was a repeat from
last year and it was good to see familiar faces coming back for
the prettiest thing
June 16, 2013
We enjoyed the evening of Father's Day at my parents'
ranch in Frankton. Their new patio provides a lovely view
of the pasture and creek. With the sun low in the sky, we watched
as the half-grown shiny-black calves followed their mothers one-by-one
through the water and up the grassy green bank. It was just about
the prettiest thing I've every seen.
June 19, 2013
The Prairie Star vines have been sleepers for several
years, starting out a little on the small side at planting, and
then held back to develop a larger trunk. But frankly, last year
they were sadly neglected so I am trimming off lots of growth now
to achieve two hearty canes at the lowest wire level. From here
we will train these vines with vertical shoot positioning because
of their upright growth nature. This Minnesota-nurtured variety
makes a tight cluster of dusty white grapes. The leaves have large
red veins like some wild vines and are favorites of Japanese Beetles.
June 22, 2013
We ate the last of the year's strawberries on some
ice cream after Market. Like clockwork, when the strawberries are
gone, the black raspberries are here! Picked 4 quarts of BRBs already
June 24, 2013
announces discovery of Near-Earth object number 10,000.
Detected on the 18th of this month, asteroid 2013 MZ5 was added
to the list of NEOs accumulating since 1898. The first century of
asteroid awareness only saw the list grow to 500 but these days
we average 3 discoveries per day! Hmm...does that make me feel better
July 1, 2013
The bee balm is in bloom and having a particularly
good year. I'm continuing to pick several quarts of black raspberries
every other day. The freezer is filling up with quart bags. These
berries will become part of the next batch of Brambleberry wine.
July 5, 2013
Took a trip today with Sandra, my tea room friend,
Cliff Herb Farm & Winery in Commiskey, Indiana. This property
is a historic civil war site where Morgan's Raiders used the farm
as a stopover on their way north. We missed the 150th anniversary
of this by only a few days. We had lunch on the porch of the restaurant
while a mixture of rain and sunshine tickled the surrounding gardens.
The bold choice of an artichoke panini paid off. All food presentations
include fresh edible flowers. With lots of buildings and gardens
to walk through, we were there for hours concluding our tour at
the winery. I regretfully passed on the tastings (except for a sample
of their wine punch) since I was driving. Next trip, (and it's definitely
worth it) I'll taste earlier in the visit!
July 10, 2013
Dealing with Japanese beetles this week. They are
horrific in spots but not throughout the vineyard. I find it's easier
to shake them off into a bucket of pesticide than to spray everything.
July 11, 2013
Finished training Nortons up to their new wires. Sauteed
some Rainbow Swiss Chard and added to fettuccini for dinner -- beautiful
on top of the world
July 15, 2013
The people at Oliver
Winery were kind to host an I.W.V.A. meeting at Creekbend
Vineyard in Bloomington. The visit started with a comprehensive
tour of both established and new vines of many varieties. Their
techniques include the latest in philosophy and equipment. It was
a very hot day near 90 degrees, but we enjoyed a breeze through
the tent on top of the world! With nothing but vines and hilltops
as far as you could see, it was easy to forget we were still in
July 20, 2013
Rain expected in this morning's forecast but we set
up anyway at the Saturday Market. Threatening skies and wind created
a guessing game with the vendors. Heavy downpour came at 10:30 just
after we loaded our last item into the truck. It stopped soon after
but we were glad to not have everything wet. We need the rain right
now and hate to wish it away. Decided to leave Market early and
found only a trace of rain at home.
July 23, 2013
Finished training Swenson Red block today. I have
allowed many arms to carry fruit this year so we should get a nice
sample batch. Had a note on the calendar for a wedding reservation
this weekend but so far none of those weddings I've penciled in
have materialized. Visitor traffic is good with most coming in groups
of 3 or 4. A large percentage are interested in seeing the vines
in addition to tasting and that gladdens my heart! I often say agritourism
is as much our product as the wine.
July 30, 2013
Finally trimmed back the strawberry patch. This should
have happened soon after fruiting ends, but it left my mind. Might
have avoided this blackspot outbreak. Did not fertilize because
it's so dry right now. Gave them a good drink at least. "Sorry guys.
Hope you hang in here with me."
August 2, 2013
Enjoyed an inaugural experience of serving "Boxed
Lunches." A very warm day but our guests stayed in the shade most
of the time, enjoying the view of the vineyard. The manager at Chick-fil-A
went over the top in providing the boxed
lunches and ice in a timely and orderly fashion. He even
gave me a free lemonade for the drive home. They really set the
example for good service.
August 7, 2013
Brian and I made a quick road trip north to G.W. Kent's
warehouse in Ypsilanti, Michigan to pick up a stainless tank. We
discovered a need for a smaller tank for some micro-batches. We
stopped by Satek Winery just before closing time. Armed with the
results of the recent Indy Wine Competition we purchased bottles
of their newly-awarded gold
medal wines. Congrats!
an extreme situation
August 12, 2013
This past Saturday I had the honor of speaking to
the Madison County Master Gardeners at the Anderson Library. Not
that I am any kind of expert, but the attendees were appreciative
of my sharing the story of our humble vineyard. Today I'm photographing
some samples of grapes and leaves I had collected to show the group
and now see what looks like downy mildew forming in my sealed bags.
This is a fungus that has not yet been a problem for us, although
I was hearing at the IWVA meeting of others struggling this year
because of the wet spring. I'm hoping the moist climate created
in the bag was an extreme situation causing the symptoms. The photo
shows variations in how the LaCrescent clusters have developed for
this or other reasons.
August 13, 2013
Whoa, where did my grapes go? We are about two weeks
from LaCrescent harvest and my nice full clusters of white grapes
are empty racks in some spots and half-clusters at best. I can see
evidence of the tiny white mold of downy mildew in some areas but
in most cases my first symptom is grapes dropping. I really thought
I was sprayed-up this year but the products I use are not the most
effective available for downy mildew. A few transient bird flocks
have exaggerated the loss mostly by shaking and not so much eating.
Peck holes tell me the grapes are not sweet enough to their taste.
This all is heartbreaking but there is absolutely nothing to be
done now. The grapes still hanging on are not ripe enough to pick.
I can only hope there will be something left.
August 19, 2013
Pure necessity always seems to be our motivation.
We need to empty some tanks for harvest so we are bottling 2012
LaCrescent today and 2012 Concord on the 26th. We have suspended
taking appointments on the weekends in preparation for harvest.
August 21, 2013
NASA announces they will return their asteroid-hunting
spacecraft, WISE, to full duty after a 31-month hibernation. Originally
launched in 2009, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer cataloged
more than 560 million objects in space, ranging from galaxies faraway
to asteroids and comets much closer to Earth. It was remotely powered
down in February 2011. Today the executive of the renamed NEOWISE
program comments, "It is important to accumulate as much
of this type of data as possible while the WISE spacecraft remains
a viable asset."
August 23, 2013
Testing sugar and acid levels on 3 varieties today.
Sugars are progressing nicely but acid remains high. By these numbers
Swenson Red may become our earliest ripening variety when the vines
are mature. LaCrescent sugars are always quickly up there! I was
so taken by the differences in juice colors that I had to snap this
19.5 BS (balling), pH 3.03, TA .97
21.5 BS, pH 2.94, TA 1.5
13 BS, pH 2.86, 1.2
August 29, 2013
So foggy this morning I can't even see the vineyard.
Morning glories open around the patio despite the filtered sunshine,
showing their beautiful blue faces for only a short time. It is
a magical moment and gone all too soon.
August 31, 2013
I've been buying a variety of breads this summer since
I'm hanging around the markets. Favorites so far include Cyndi's
sourdough, Symphony of Oils' pesto bread, and Wilson's pretzel loaf.
Today I picked up a lofty soft white from the booth of Rosie's Place
that will be perfect for egg salad.
September 3, 2013
A second round of pre-harvest numbers puts Swenson
Red right on target. LaCrescent acid is still high but needs to
be picked because of fungus pressure. We'll have about a 50% loss
due to grapes dropping in LC block this year. Swenson Red: 22.5
BS, pH 3.18, TA .83 LaCrescent: 26 BS, pH3.08, TA 1.35
September 7, 2013
It always amazes me to see our faithful helpers turn
out on harvest day. I hope they feel like this is their vineyard
too, because it really is! Starting with the Swenson Red grapes,
all the pioneer clusters are gathered for a nice test batch but
we soon discover the dark pink berries do not respond to pressing.
This variety has an adherent skin and is simply too meaty to give
up its juice. We quickly recover the skins putting them back with
what little juice we pressed, and prepared for a skins fermentation!
The LaCrescent crop was so thin that we thought we could get them
in one day. We learned it still takes the same amount of time to
clip a cluster even though half of its grapes have dropped. By 5:00
we've asked all we can of volunteers but two rows still remain.
They are the weakest rows yet, but Brian and I will make an effort
tomorrow to get what we can. Thanks so much to all who struggled
through the stemmy mess all day! You are awesome.
September 9, 2013
We finally add yeast to our LaCrescent juice after
generating an additional 15 hard-earned gallons. There are still
grapes out there but winemaking is alot about deciding where to
draw the line.
September 12, 2013
Tonight the Thursday evening "Summer Produce Market"
is part of downtown Noblesville's event titled, "The Chocolate Trail."
We were asked ahead by the promoters to stay later than our usual
7pm and serve wine by the glass until 10. We gladly accepted the
opportunity and fashioned our festival permit accordingly. Prizes
were awarded by drawing to those who completed the trail, visiting
every participating downtown store plus the Market. It was a terrific
crowd and a baptism by fire for us in serving wine by the glass.
September 14, 2013
Pickers arrive again for two consecutive weekends
of grape harvesting. Some new faces but many faithful returnees!
By comparison, the plump and full Concord clusters are a joy to
pick and fill up the lugs quickly. Some young-blooded helpers on
the crush pad keep the process moving so there is little waiting
for empties. Justin takes the prize for finding the biggest cluster
-- (sorry gals, he's engaged!) After a fried chicken lunch, workers
are able to get all the Concords by the mid-afternoon.
September 22, 2013
We received 3 inches of needed rain this past week.
The new batches of wine were transferred off their yeast yesterday
and today. Everything looks and smells good!
September 27, 2013
It was a special privilege today for our vineyard
tour to be part of the Potts family's celebration of Tabernacles.
Their extended family and friends have been enjoying outdoor activities
and camping together all week. The full moon was the 19th but we
are stretching our festival decor through our Harvest Celebration
starting tomorrow. Our "sukkah" utilizes the arbor just north of
the winery doors, providing the structure to carry an airy covering
of burlap and plume grass with splashes of hanging grapes and other
full right up to the top
September 28, 2013
Even though our harvest yields are down, we
are truly thankful for what we were given. It's really all we need.
Any more and we would be scrambling for tank space. As it turns
out, our tanks are all full right up to the top with one necessary
empty. I love it when things work out evenly. Starting today through
next Saturday, our Harvest Celebration here at the winery provides
a place to get out and enjoy the fall weather and scenery. We hope
the winery also provides a tangible link between people and their
food, or in this case, wine. I've wondered recently how my relationship
with food might affect my relationship with God. Am I accepting
and thankful for what He has created? Can I be grateful without
grumbling? Can I celebrate and feast without gluttony or drunkenness?
I believe He loves to celebrate with us when we let Him.
"...And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God...the
tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings
of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the
LORD thy God always...and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.
-- DEUTERONOMY 14:23-26
September 30, 2013
Our two newly-bottled wines, "Sunbonnet" and "Concord
Mist," are added to the tasting line-up during our festival week.
But awkwardly we can't sell either of them since we don't have approved
labels. The federal government's shutdown has impacted us directly
in that the federal workers who might approve labels are not working
at this time. I imagine their website will be quite backlogged with
submissions so approvals will likely take several weeks even after
the government is rebooted. Now is a good chance to say "Thanks"
to Lauren for being the "Sunbonnet" label model.
October 2, 2013
Visitors during the 8-day festival enjoy wine
samples along with tasty tidbits from local sources. Selections
include the famous chewy "Brooks
Family Granola" and Focaccia bread with "Sun-Dried Tomato
Dipping Mix" from Symphony
of Oils and Bakery.
October 5, 2013
We've enjoyed touring and talking with so many people
this week, including several large groups and private parties. The
Madison County Master Gardeners got a chance to taste wines from
the vineyard they heard me speak about earlier this year. Several
gleaners turned out to gather the late-forming fruit and a few missed
clusters. The "Apple Spice" wine was sold out by mid-week. Apples
were hurt badly by frost in 2012 so we did not purchase cider last
fall. I hate to be out of "Apple Spice" going into the holidays
but it feels good to sell through some inventory. Apple crops are
great this year so we need to make a new batch soon!
October 7, 2013
Pulling weeds seems like a luxury since it happens
only when the pressure of everything else dissipates. The walnut
trees are heavy with nuts this year and are dropping frequently
today. I wear my hat even in the shade to keep from getting hit
hard in the head as I work beneath the trees.
October 11, 2013
Met today with Ashley from Monarch Beverage to discuss
wholesaling our wine. This opportunity seems much more feasible
than I thought. We have a request to provide wine for a wedding
held at The
Milltop, an urban-chic venue in downtown Noblesville. Tomorrow
is the last Saturday Market of the season.
October 15, 2013
Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary today with
a nice dinner at the Olive Garden. I choose the Moscato Peach Chicken
with, of course, a glass of Moscato and Brian had the Tuscany Steak
and Coppola Cabernet.
October 22, 2013
We finalized our wholesale agreement on Monday, just
barely in time to fulfill the pending order. We are thrilled to
add this option to our marketing plan, especially with winter on
our heels. Hard freeze last night with low of 28. Snowflakes today!
October 30, 2013
The Coverdale barn has come down. Erected in 1889,
the pin barn just north of the river in Noblesville had been used
by many of my family members through the years. Moving the structure
for use as the winery was a serious consideration as we planned
our construction. But ultimately, we discovered that to meet code
for a public building, the reinforcements and insulation required
would mask the original interior surfaces, and therefore diminish
most of its charm. Wind, rain and property taxes are the biggest
threats to old structures and hard decisions must be made. The good
news is the barn was moved by an organization that will restore
it to its glory somewhere near Fort Wayne. Yes, it's a loss for
us and for others who enjoyed seeing it as part of the county's
rural landscape. But we're glad the 1889 barn will be cared for
and live on for many years to come. We hope to visit it someday
in its new home.
November 3, 2013
All the leaves are gone in the vineyard but we have
peak color in the woods this weekend. Maples are bright yellow.
The dogwoods have reached their deep red. Sycamore leaves of all
colors sail to the ground as big as placemats -- literally. I chose
four to set the table for company.
November 10, 2013
Enjoyed a lovely afternoon with friends from school
days. Four gals and fours hours seemed only a few minutes. A newly-labeled
bottle of "Sunbonnet" will take a plane ride to New Zealand. How
cool is that? I'm remembering a song from Brownies we sang in a
round. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the
November 13, 2013
The website was updated today with information about
2 holiday open houses. The first will be the 23rd and the next on
December 21st. It will be chilly but we wanted to create specific
times when people could purchase wine for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We continue to be open by appointment and people still call, especially
on the nicer sunny days!
November 18, 2013
Preliminary findings show at least 26 tornadoes tore
through Indiana during yesterday's storms including an EF-3 near
Lafayette. The National Weather Service says this was the third-largest
tornado outbreak in Indiana history. Throughout the Midwest the
storm system produced up to 60 total twisters. November is not normally
known for tornado weather.
November 19, 2013
Apple-pressing season is coming to an end and we are
thrilled to be buying fresh cider from Stuckey's
in Sheridan. The resulting batch of apple wine will be a 100% Hamilton
County product! We hauled 3 empty barrels in our pickup truck where
they made quick work of filling them. We marveled at photos of the
tornado that just went through only 2 miles west of the store. The
truck was riding low on our slow, sloshy ride home. Fermentation
will start tomorrow.
November 23, 2013
Our "Thankful Hearts" Open House began at 4pm. It
sure smelled like Thanksgiving in our tasting tent thanks to carry-out
from Bob Evans featuring turkey, sage dressing, green beans, mashed
potatoes, pumpkin bread and biscuits. We were pleased to see many
neighbors and market friends turn out to sample wine and build their
confidence for holiday pairings.
November 25, 2013
Met with my friend and former media specialist of
the Noblesville Library, Becky Cola, to get some help with a Facebook
page. (gasp) I know! My friends complain I don't even check my email.
But I have put off the inevitable for too long. It's time to join
the 21st century.
November 27, 2013
Saw Santa today at nearby Hamilton Town Center. I
had to chuckle. He was getting out of a red Prius.
November 29, 2013
The long-anticipated Comet
ISON emerged from its orbit around the sun yesterday, Thanksgiving
evening, about 10pm EST. Through the year as watching intensified,
the comet had brightened and dimmed in unexpected ways. Observers
lost sight altogether as it neared the sun and it was thought to
have disintegrated. However, the comet did reappear yesterday on
the other side of the sun! Through special telescopes which dodge
out the sun, it was a brilliant triangular spray of light but only
for a few hours and then quickly faded. It is now thought that ISON's
nucleus was disrupted by the heat, gravity and radiation of the
sun, eventually reducing ISON to a cloud of dust. The brilliant
comet, once hoped to be seen by the naked eye, was not to be. David
Levy (of other comet fame) restated with The Old Farmer's Almanac,
"Comets are like cats; they both have tails, and they both do precisely
what they want."
November 30, 2013
Many years ago, we planted evergreen saplings in our
backyard with the intention of moving them when they became more
hardy. Well, time goes by. And sadly several trees became overrun
by others, all planted too closely in our "nursery." So whenever
I would mow near these trees I would tell them I was sorry but that
I had very special plans for them. Today we cut 4 trees off at their
base, harvested as Christmas trees, and they will provide winter
atmosphere at our winery entrance from now until next spring.
December 4, 2013
Having a fall flashback today at 62 degrees! It gave
us one last opportunity to complete some projects still on our fall
list. 1) Honeysuckle eradication: After being wooed by the attractive
foliage and flowers of this species for a few years, we've finally
had to admit that "Amur or Bush Honeysuckle" is invasive and has
to go. 2) Touch up paint on Country Moon sign - just enough time
to dry on this warm day. 3) Final tie-up of LaCrescent vines preparing
them for windy and icy weather. Snow predicted tomorrow.
December 7, 2013
Transferred the new apple wine off its yeast today.
It's made a drastic transformation from the dense brown cider to
an almost clear light yellow wine.
December 17, 2013
A beautiful full moon makes me wish our building were
just as complete. Earlier this summer, we ran into a friend who
works for a commercial painting company. Their company does not
do the flexible ceramic coating we're seeking but it was a chance
to get a professional opinion. His comment was that galvanized steel
by nature will be chalky for many years. It's best to paint later
rather than sooner. This gem of information was much appreciated
but in effect ended any momentum on construction efforts for the
year. I'm not sure where we'll go from here.
December 21, 2013
Another very chilly evening was served up for our
"Longest Night" Open House, but we were pleased to have several
brave souls come help us eat the cheese plate, spinach dip and pecan
bars. Unable once again, to implement our luminaries -- this time
because of rain -- we will keep them stored for another year. From
tonight on, the days will get longer so we can relax and embrace
all the beauty that winter and the Christmas season have to offer,
knowing spring is always coming.
December 30, 2013
Six important things I've learned this year:
1) Selling wine at wholesale is easier than
2) Toothpaste works better on a dry toothbrush (and the faucet doesn't
run the whole time.)
3) If the side seam of my pants doesn't hang straight, my pants
are too tight.
4) There is often not much lead time between an asteroid discovery
and its near-miss.
5) Hashtags are a new way to be sarcastic.
6) If it has to be cold, it might as well be snowy and beautiful.
rhythm of the universe
December 31, 2013
For this year's final entry in the Vineyard Journal
and in honor of the "year of the comet," I will confess to some
skywatching foolishness. About when we switched back from Daylight
Savings Time in early November, I became aware of a bright evening
star in the southwestern sky. "Stars" shining brightly like this
one are usually planets, but days and weeks passed without any noticeable
change in its position. For more than two hours after every sunset,
there it was. So this now demanded some research. The internet was
suspiciously absent of star chatter except for YouTube...and this
video touchpoint was collecting more videos every day from people
asking "what is this?"
My confession lies in admitting how many hours I spent
watching one amateur zoom-in after the next and reading peoples'
end-of-the-world predictions. #Nibiru. #Whatever. Finally, I turned
to the Old Farmer's Almanac website where I could enter into their
any date and it would tell me the rising and setting time of the
planet Venus (or other planets and bright stars.) This confirmed
for me that I had been watching Venus whose stalled retrograde illusion
peaked on November 30th, setting 172 minutes after sunset. According
to the almanac, the "setting time" interval between the sun and
Venus will now quickly diminish these next few days until the inner-orbiting
planet disappears from sight against the sun's light. By January
13th, Venus will pop over the SOUTHEASTERN horizon 34 minutes before
sunrise, officially becoming a morning star for awhile.
The rhythm of the universe is mostly
understood and predictable, especially our own solar system with
its regular eclipses. But the comets and asteroids still seemingly
come out of nowhere to surprise and dazzle us. I'm guessing that
a persistent star growing ever brighter is exactly what an asteroid
would look like in a collision course with the Earth. As silly as
it can be, there is some comfort in that strange yet watchful choir
of internet voices. Thankfully, the planet will survive to celebrate
another New Year. Happy 2014!
"Seeing then that all these things shall be
dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be..."
2 PETER 3:11
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