Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Pursuit of Shade

I wanted shade over the patio area that the patio cover doesn't cover. And I thought about how nicely the grapevines in the front yard at my parents' shade the courtyard there, and it would be kinda fun to make wine. So I bought some vines - one a Merlot from Home Depot in a pot, and a Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon from someone on eBay selling bare root grafted vines. But I'm me, and then I start wondering about the best place to plant and how much to water the vines to grow the best grapes, etc. So I buy a book - From Vines to Wines - and I start reading about how to grow grapes for wine, and here I run into a little hiccup in my grand plan.... when growing grapevines for the purpose of making wines, you would prune the plant much differently than you would for shade. In fact, proper pruning would negate my whole shady patio cover plan.

But now I'm all worked up about making wine, and have decided that is more important than my shade idea. So I'm planting grapes for the purpose of home winemaking. I even decided that I'm going to plant the vines I already bought elsewhere for the shade aspect (still not sure where), then I'm going to prep the ground where I want to plant my wine vines this fall and order new vines to plant properly in the spring. Cause I want to do it right. And that leads to more questions in my head - how long does it need to be aged, at what temperature, etc.

Then I start thinking about aging, and that's a whole new set of questions - if I wanted to buy wine to keep for awhile before drinking, how do I know what kinds keep getting better over time, and how does one know when the peak has been reached, etc. And where the heck in my house could I keep such wine. (Yes, I have trouble controlling the tangential nature of my thoughts.) So now I feel the need to build a cellar at my house too. (My brother Aaron looked at me like I had gone crazy... "When did you become wine crazy?" But when I told Mom about where Bobby suggested we put it - under the brick patio - she said "Oooh.... when do we start?").

The problem is that we aren't buying the house, so if I build, I build for someone else. In fact, I'm apparently not going to have harvestable wine-making grapes for at least three if not four years. So if it ages for 2 years in the carboys and in oak, and then needs to age in the bottle... I'm not even going to be able to taste my wine for 5 or 6 years... if I'm even still at the house! And even then, if it's good, I might want to wait to drink the rest for another 5 years or so. I could be 40 before I'm enjoying the fruit of my first harvest.

What's a girl to do?

I told Bobby these grapevines are a practice run, and I can wait on the cellar if I must. But we did join a wine club this weekend (Ponte Winery in Temecula... we stopped there on the way to SeaWorld), and decided to wait to open a red that we'd bought. And I bought another book - Cellaring Wine. Should arrive tomorrow, which is good, because I should be done with From Vines to Wines by then.

No comments: