“Hence , we started planting a grape called Black Spanish, and it’s a grape that does extremely well in our climate. It likes humidity, it likes rain, it likes clay soils, so it’s very well suited for this region.”
And here’s a first, “fire ants” and the term “beneficial” being used together.
“The fire ants are carnivorous, they eat other bugs, they do not eat the grapevine and they aerate the soil, so there’s a benefit, and they typically live right around the base of the plant.”
A vineyard is very labor intensive.
“You have to plant it, you have to stake it, you have to essentially develop a full trellis system.”
Many grape farmers were once single crop year farmers and had to learn that grapes were a long term investment.
“Typically, the first year that you put the grapevine in the ground you’re growing roots. The second year you’re growing the foundation of the plant, the trunk and arms, which we call cordon, and the third year we start to fruit. Typically, you’ll get 10% to 25% fruiting the third year, and gradually that increases to 100% the 7th year.”
And what’s the closest thing to growing grapes?
“ It’s raising rose bushes because of the same thing, you’ve got to prune them in February, then hey crop in July, in this part of the state, they start cropping in July. They go dormant in October and November, the cycle starts all over again.”
And like a cotton shirt, or a bag of corn chips, a glass of wine begins, from the ground up.