To Have a Vineyard

grape vine

The Mother Vine

It’s my dream to one day have a small vineyard. Maybe it is just a romantic notion, but the dream continues to burn in my heart. I have started and failed several times; the wrong vines, the wrong location, and sometimes by neglect, but over the years I have managed to make a little progress and a little wine. When we arrived at Orel, there were two old vines growing along the front wall of the house. They had been cut to the ground by the previous owner. Sprouting back at the root, we staked them and cared for them until they started baring fruit again. Budding late but ripening early, the vines

New vines along the wall

perform well in our region of short cool summers. Once the fruit ripened we were able to identify our vines as Sauvignon Blanc. We have tried other varieties from Moravia, but with little success. The spring is too cold with late frost which has damaged or killed the other vines. Each year we root cuttings taken from the old vines. Planting the new vines in our garden along walls on the south side of buildings, protected from the north wind that blows in winter. Some of our new vines are finally starting to bear fruit, as we continue to plant more.

New cuttings

To start my vines, I gather cuttings in the fall.  The cuttings are about the diameter of a pencil and approximately 10 inches long.  When I cut them from the vine, I cut a diagonal cut toward the tip of the vine and a straight cut at the base of the vine.  That way when I plant them I know which end is up.  Each cutting has three or four buds.  Then I bundle the cuttings, tying them together with a string and bury them in my garden, leaving one end of the string tied to a stake so I can find them in the spring.  Come spring I dig them up and plant them in a shady bed, leaving one bud above the ground.  I water them every day, keeping them moist through the summer.  By late summer they begin to grow.  The new vines over winter in my cutting bed.  Then I transplant them to their new location in the early spring before they come out of dormancy.