2009 Was a GREAT first year for us! 11 new vineyards were planted and 3 more were slated for the first part of 2010.
Following are the vineyards we planted in 2009, from the first in April to the end of the year. Many thanks to our GREAT customers who will soon be enjoying their own "fruit of the vine!"
Wednesday, April 22nd - Earth Day Celebration at Stork Elementary School, Alta Loma
Stork Elementary teachers Ms. Marina Smith and Ms. Roberta Bowen, and Principal Melinda Early celebrated Earth Day with a very special program for their kids. In keeping with the vineyard heritage of the Cucamonga Valley, it was their decision to plant a vineyard that could be enjoyed by their students for years to come. In taking advantage of a long stretch of chainlink fence separating the school parking lot from the school sports field, we were able to plant 11 grapevines consisting of three varieties of table grapes: Thompson Seedless, Red Flame Seedless, and Black Seedless. The vineyard was then flanked by two beautiful rose trees. The vines and roses will naturally trellis across the chain link fence, adding beauty and charm to an otherwise static display of chain fence.
As part of the program and vineyard commemoration, each student was asked to help plant the vines and roses by individually placing a handful of dirt onto one of the vines. The day was a wonderful success, and here are some before, during, and after shots:
The perfect setting for a new vineyard...and built-in trelissing, too!
In preparation for the Earth Day planting, we prepared the new vineyard with holes for the plants, set up the drip irrigation, and let the kids do most of the work! Above, Clayton prepares the soil for digging by breaking it up with a jackhammer. Clayton, 13, is Vineyard Artisan Apprentice, and is a part of MyHomeVineyard.com.
Above, more child labor. Seriously, these three Stork students volunteered to help prepare the vineyard. They worked diligently and were a big help!
George Walker of MyHomeVineyard.com poses with Stork Principal Melinda Early and Teacher Roberta Bowen.
Can you believe I can't find the pics? Comming soon!
Rancho de Emilia Vineyard
A wonderful clean slate...the typical Alta Loma rocky hillside just awaiting a beautiful terraced vineyard! Note the rocks protruding from the ground and the ruts caused by drainage from the upper-area sprinkler system. It will need to be "cleaned up" a bit.
The homeowner was kind enough to prepare the hill prior to planting by removing obvious rocks and raking over the drainage ruts. Below, our crew is busy being innovative. Due to the extremely rocky nature of the hillside, it would have been very difficult to drive wooden grapestakes into the ground. Therefore, we got creative and decided to drive 3/8" rebar into the ground as a support for the treated wooden grapestakes. Once the rebar was "hammered" into the ground, the grapestakes were fitted over each rod, then further driven into the ground to secure them. The result? Keep reading....
And voila! The grapestakes are positioned and our crew begins digging the holes for planting the vines. In this case, again due to the extremely stony, rocky nature of the ground, we used a jackhammer to loosen the dirt and rocks, so that a shovel can better remove them. The jackhammer does not break the rock, rather, as mentioned, it loosens the stones and rocks for easier removal AND helps identify larger rocks that will need to take additional time to remove.
Through the course of digging the vine holes, we removed 15 or so large rocks. Whew! But we gotter' done.
Just after lunch, it was time for planting...the best time of all. The holes are finished, the drip lines are run, and all that's left to do is to carefully plant these wonderful bareroot grapevines, most of which look like nothing more than a long stick with some straggly roots.
This beauty is a three+ year old bareroot Cabernet Franc vine. Throughout the next few weeks, it will develop buds, then soon after the buds will burst with new green growth. A few days later, the new stems and leaves will be pushing toward the sun.
The Wonderful "After"
And here it is...the finished product. The white boxes are called vine shelters. Their pupose is to protect the young vines from the elements and from any troublesome varmints, while creating a "micro climate" for the plant keep warm and foster its growth. The shelters will remain on the vines for the first growing year, then will be removed toward the end of the year. It will be only a matter of a few weeks, however, until the new green growth will be peeking out of these shelters, then adding an inch or two of growth nearly every day. Vines are prolific...you won't believe the difference by July, as each vines will have vigorously shot stems and leaves in all directions. The new leaf growth will transform the sunlight into energy that will dramatically improve root growth, which is the most important part of the first year or two of growth.
Note the Rose Trees at the ends of the rows. These are a premium variety called "Dream Come True." This award-winning rose tree has now become an important trademark for our small business, since a major part of our mission is helping homeowners' and others' "dream come true" by planting a wonderful custom vineyard. Unfortunately, although there are four vine rows, we were able to plant a rose tree at the end of only the lower three rows. Why? Because at this end of the first (top) row, right where we would have planted the rose tree, there is a huge "boulder" just beneath the surface. There was no removing this behemoth. Therefore, we recommended to the homeowner that this part of the vineyard would be perfect to place a commemorative plaque or other type of marker that can rest atop the boulder and add the finishing touch...a lasting memorial that identifies and celebrates this newest Cucamonga Heritage Vineyard!
Rocky Mountain Vineyard, Claremont, CA
THE WONDERFUL AFTER:
Bob came to us with the desire to construct his own vineyard, but not knowing how to go about it. No problem! After a couple consultations, we provided Bob with the premium trellis materials he needed and prepared a written plan that included step by step instructions with illustrations. Bob did an exceptional job! The finished product consists of two trellised rows that will eventually support eight vines per row. Bob plans to plant various varieties of table grapes...mmmmm! Sorry, no pic at this time.
Rancho de Emilia Vineyard #2
The homeowners loved their first vineyard so much, they wanted another. This time, however, the new vineyard would be trellised along the south side of their home. They will be able to enjoy it with kitchen, dining, and living room views.
The trellis lodge poles are buried and ready for wire to be strung.
The bottom two wires are strung on each row, the grapestakes are pounded in, the irrigation lines are run, and the the new grapevines are planted!
The Carney Vineyard, Alta Loma
The Wonderful After:
The Jenner/Kardashian Vineyard
Planted in conjunction with our partner, gro-Organic.com.
The planting area was small and represented a nice design challenge. After the gro-Organic crew cleaned up the area and removed all the straggley vines and surface roots from the ground cover, it was a nice, clean slate. The Jenner/Kardashian family then painted the stucco-covered wall that shields their pool equipment from view. Their new vineyard will greatly enhance their back yard and pool area.
The Wonderful After:
This special design uses a tapered-effect, where the table grapes are trellised higher along the wall, and the staked vines in front of them will be trained at different heights, tapering down toward the yard. Ten Zinfandel grapevines are highlighted by the last-minute addition of a gnarley 50+ year old Cucamonga Zinfandel Vine, rescued by MyHomeVineyard.com and adopted by the Jenners as part of our Cucamonga Old Vines Rescue & Adoption program through the Cucamonga Vineyard Heritage Society at www.CucamongaHeritage.org.
Bruce Jenner, American Olympic Hero now prominent businessman, poses with MyHomeVineyard.com owner/Vineyard Artisan, George M. Walker.
Third Street Cellars Vineyard, LaVerne
As we have often told folks, you can plant a vineyard just about anywhere and with little planting area. Here is the perfect example. The area looks big on the plan, but just check out the "Before" picture to see just how small an area it is. We still managed to fit 6 Zinfandel vines on the plot, deciding at the last moment to stake all 6. These vines will eventually yield enough fruit to make 5-6 gallons of great wine!
Vineto di Mumbleau, Alta Loma
Another fun vineyard to design and plant! This vineyard boasts 18 Cabernet Sauvignon vines divided into two trellised sections on the homeowners' short hillside off their gated driveway and garage. Most exciting is the lower row of staked vines, consisting of 22 total 20+ year-old Cucamonga Heritage Zinfandel, rescued from the closed DeBerard Ranch Vineyard located at 6th & Archibald in the heart of Rancho Cucamonga, through the Cucamonga Vineyard Heritage Society's "Adopt a Vine" program. What a wonderful thing!
Our youngest team member, Donovan, untangles some twine that will be used to mark and lay out the vineyard.
Due to the heavily alluvial (rocky) soil, we made use of our own developed technique for driving rebar into the groud. The treated wood grape stakes will then be placed over the rebar, thus securing them in place without having to drive the wooden stakes into the ground...which would have been next to impossible. Here is our most senior team member, Gary, driving rebar with a very heavy and very effective jackhammer.
It's no secret that the hardest part of installing a trellis system in the very rocky soil of Alta Loma is digging two-foot holes to install the trellis end-poles and mid-poles. Once the hole is dug...and sometimes requiring the removal of some hefty 50+ lb rocks (aka, Cucamonga Taters), the poles are set in using bagged quick-set concrete mix. The quick-set concrete solidifies enough in just an hour to permit us to string the trellis wire and not worry about the posts moving. Here, newest team member Jeremy works on digging out a large rock that must be removed before setting one of the four end-poles.
MHV Vine Artisan Chris Capalbo quenches the thirst of one of the four "Dream Come True" rose bushes. A hot day, but not as hot as it could have been! Still, at 95+ degrees, an afternoon breeze was most welcome.
Above, our homeowners give their new vineyard a "personal touch" and take the opportunity to plant their Cucamonga Heritage vines. Many thanks to our customers who wanted to pitch-in and be part of the installation. Of course, our crew really appreciated the cold water, soft drinks, and pizza that were kindly provided by the homeowners. And cheers to them for all of the "sweat equity" they put into the project. As you will see in the next pic, all of the hard work that day definitely paid off!
Nearly done! Just a little more to do, and it's a wrap!
The Wonderful After
Our happy homeowners, now vineyard owners, pose with their new custom vineyard.
MHV founder and "vine whisperer," George Walker, poses with his most recent work of vine-art.
Cucamonga Heritage Old/Mature Vines (photos courtesy of Jean Mumbleau)
The Baca Vineyard
This vineyard represented another testament to HMV's versatility and flexibility. The Homeowner had his own idea of where he wanted his vines planted, but not the knowhow. After a bit of consultation with HMV, the Baca Family decided on planting 13 Cabernet Sauvignon vines, a Thompson Seedless, and a Flame Seedless, all staked, in various areas on or near their backyard hillside. The design was very nice, complementing their Gazebo area, a large fountain, and a smaller wall fountain. A very special accompaniment was the planting of 2 Cucamonga Old Zinfandel vines, each anywhere from 25-50 years old, on each side of the vines in the first picture below. The Bacas are now saving up to eventually plant the rest of their hillside in vines...looking to the future of some great homemade wine! And MHV will be there to help....
Above: 8 Cabernet Sauvignon vines on the hillside behind the Baca's large fountain. The young vines are protected from squirrel, rabbit and other potential damage through the use of "vine shelters." The vine shelter also serves as a special sunlight-diffusing enhancement, creating a micro-climate that will aid in the young plant's growth.
Above: On the immediate left, the first two vines are seedless table grapes, while the rest of the vines are Cabernet Sauvignon.
Above: Difficult to see, but a Cabernet Sauvignon vine is planted on each side of the wall fountain for a special enhancement to the decorative fountain.
The Dennis Vineyards
This vineyard presented a new challenge to us. One trelissed vineyard already existed, and the homeowner wanted additional trelissing and additional vines. Also, the existing vines weren't properly trelissed and needed to be pruned and retrained on their wires. Finally, too many table/seedless grapevines had been previously planted and many needed to be removed and replaced with wine grapevines. Our challenges were to match the look and structure of the existing vineyard, plant new vines, retrofit the existing vineyard with double wires on the tops, and one other important piece...spread 2800 square feet of crushed marble to improve sunlight to the vineyard via the marble's reflective properties. Here is the plan, and following it are the pics:
Above: The existing vines and trelissing of the "lower" vineyard. Note the severe lack of proper positioning of the vines on the trelisses and the resulting sprawl and over-growth of the canes.
Above: A blank planting area awaiting new trellising and vines that will become the "upper" vineyard.
Above: The same blank area, now trelissed and planted, with reflective marble freshly spread.
Above: In the foreground, newly constructed trelissing to match the older trelissing in the background. New vines have been planted and the remaining reflective marble is being spread on the upper vinerow. The existing vines were severely pruned in preparation for proper positioning of the cordon canes on the middle wires.
Above: Another angle-view of the "lower" vineyard.
Vineyards under way for 2010:
YOUR CUSTOM-DESIGNED, DREAM VINEYARD COULD BE NEXT!
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