Viticulture

Part 4: So, you want to plant a vineyard?

I clearly remember the evening after we had spent all day tirelessly planting 358 pinot noir vines. While celebrating with a late night BBQ filled with even more Pinot Noir (drinkable…not in cluster form!!), we soon began to hear crunching sounds amidst the calming oranges, pinks and purples of that evening’s glorious sunset. Eager to discover their source, I ventured outside our kitchen and onto the deck. Peering out over our baby vines with such pride and joy, I suddenly saw munchers…DEER!!!!!! A whole darling family of them…babies and all!!!!

To be completely honest, we had read up on the struggles vineyards face trying to stop deer from savaging their vines. However, my husband and I never thought in a million years that the little buggers would find our vines and begin feasting just so soon!

So, when I say…the party ended…it certainly did!! We had bought some organic deer repellant that you are supposed to spray on the outside vines to deter the deer, but we didn’t exactly think it would be something that needed to be done immediately. In our minds, it would take awhile for them to even find our new little vineyard and by then, we would be prepared.

Not the case!

The rest of our evening was spent spraying Liquid Fence all over the vines until about midnight. By now, it was dark and little critters were coming out and literally hopping all over the place. Needless to say, after a few hours, we were absolutely exhausted! It’s not easy planting Pinot Noir vines and then tackling deer in one day! At this point, we were convinced that we had everything under control (Ha ha ha ha ha).

I think the deer had it in for us because we battled those little devils for weeks! I think that I permanently smelled of Liquid Fence and was repelling almost everyone who came near me! We soon came to the conclusion that we needed a greater defence. Personally, I was ready to dig a moat and build a 12 foot wall, but in the grand scheme of things, that was a bit outrageous!

So, we hired a contractor to build us a deer fence. As we were living in an HOA, we needed to get proper approval, which consisted of several neighbors congregating in our living room, debating the necessity of our project and the direct impact it would have on them. None of them could quite believe that we simply wanted to plant a vineyard and make our own wine. They too thought we were crazy, except our neighbors who helped us plant the vineyard who were very supportive, and that we had some hidden agenda. They obviously didn’t possess the ‘vineyard dream’ like us.

However, after tons of planning and endless designs, the HOA approved our plan and our contractor set out to build our defenses!! Basically, deer can jump very high. The minimum height for a deer fence is 7 feet. Ours met this minimum requirement and then some. In total the fence was 9 feet tall. It took about a month to complete, but by the end, the deer were out and our baby vines were safe and growing beautifully!