vineyard philosopher Viticulture

Rainy Days in the Vineyard

“Never worry about things you can’t control.”

Farming is about controlling everything you can and not worrying about things you don’t control.  And you eventually realize you have control over nothing.  Hubris has no place in farming.

Last summer it was way too dry, and this spring it’s way too wet.

I woke up this morning and a steady rainfall overnight had transformed the formerly drying fields into a sea of mud.  With rain forecast for the ensuing 36 hours, puddles were appearing in our fields where I had never seen water gather before.

Being unable to do any work in the vineyard, I treated myself to a breakfast at Rockin’ Rogers.  Rockin’ Rogers is a family-owned diner in Wellington.  I once asked the lady working there why it’s called Rockin’ Rogers.  She looked at me quizzically and said, “Well, we’re the Rogers family, and this is our diner.”  Old vinyl album covers from the seventies  decorate the walls — Queen, Supertramp, Anne Murray.   A juke box sits in the corner, ready to rock.  I guess it was a question with an obvious answer.

I love it.  I even have a breakfast card so I occasionally can get a free breakfast, if I remember to get them to check off the days that I’m there.

As I tucked into the comfort of two eggs, over easy, with bacon, brown toast and home fries, a lady in the next booth waved at me.

“Hey I know you, you’re the guy from Broken Stone Winery.  We were just talking about you.  How does this weather affect the vines?”

In the small town, there is no such thing as anonymity.  The folks at the next table know who you are.   I recognized her from previous conversations in the winery and seeing her about town.

“Well, I’m not sure” I told her. “There’s a saying that grapevines don’t like wet feet, but if we get a few dry days, all this water will drain away quickly enough.  The real problem is, we can’t get on the land with our equipment to dehill the vines.”

I hadn’t been too worried about rains, the weather falling into the large category of “things I can’t control”, but now that I started to think about it, we were going to be nearly two weeks behind after this rain, and more rain was in the forecast.  One thing I do control is how much labour I hire — it might make sense to hire more labour.  I filed the idea away in my mind with a hundred other urgent items, filed away the worries, and enjoyed the rest of my breakfast with stoicism.

Entrepreneur, Winegrower and Father. I write about going for your dreams, living authentically, raising a family and building a winery from scratch in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

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