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Showing posts from August, 2012

"To succeed you must first improve, to improve you must first practice, to practice you must first learn, and to learn you must first fail." ~ William Woo

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8-17-12:  After a year of what seems to be significant setbacks and harvest projections predicting harvest possibly as much as a month early, these ranchers need to dust off their behinds and focus solidly on what's on the horizon. It would be very easy to dwell on the hundreds of pounds of grapes that had to be dropped due to the locust swarm eating all the leaves or the three rows of Zinfandel grapes we may possibly have to drop due to an electrical failure in the well during a heat wave, which saw temperatures rise above 110 for over three weeks.

However, Robert Mondavi's mantra was that the art of winemaking is to be able to make a good wine from the hand you are dealt, whether that be bad weather, no water, electrical failures, pests -- the list is endless. So it is to these greats we look for inspiration when the going gets tough. Also recalled to our mind is the story of Warren Winiarski, the pioneering winemaker at Stag's Leap, who grafted all of his own grapevin…

"It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.” ~ Richard M. DeVos

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July 5, 2012:  As Gilda Radnor used it say, "It just goes to show, it's always something."

We got past the challenge of winter frosts, snow, hail, etc. We had gorgeous fruit set. This was going to be THE YEAR. The fruit looked gorgeous. We've exponentially improved our winemaking skills -- even have lab equipment and started doing chemistry, for God's sake.

And what happens? Locust. The casual reader may be thinking, "Seriously, are there still locust? Isn't that a bible kind of thing?" Well, this tired rancher is here to tell you that the swarm was either locust or really mean, irked, but well-organized grasshoppers.

We've seen one or two for the last three weeks and were spraying the recommended "friendly" sprays, so as not to disrupt the friendly flora and fauna. That's like treating sepsis with Bactine. When the damage, such as that which occurred in the photo began appearing rapidly yesterday, we got out the bi…

"You can always tell who the pioneers are because they have arrows in their back and are lying face down in the dirt.”

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6-7-12:  The photo really says it all. In this episode, we find the ever-optimistic ranchers driving up the hill, only to wonder why the lawn looked so brown. The Chief had worked so long and hard on the sprinklers last visit. Better get out and look at them ASAP, figure out what the issue is -- ah, but wait, we have our little bag of pinga-pinga fish to put in the trough to eat thousands of pounds of algae. Take a quick detour to the trough, pop those in, and head to the irrigation box. Focus is an amazing thing. When one focuses so intently on one thing, let alone several things simultaneously, the proverbial forrest can be lost due to the trees, which is the way it was explained as to how an experienced rancher, threatened in every coneivable way by rattlesnakes this season, could have nearly stepped on one in the middle of the driveway, but my guess is the pinga-pinga fish distracted him.

Once he assessed the situation, he was quite pleased that an earlier near disaster ha…