Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Land use scars (Rutherford)

Saw this the other day on Google Earth (click either pic to enlarge):

Of note is the vineyard in the lower left at the corner of Whitehall Lane & S. Whitehall lane. There's a diagonal line running NW to SE across the vine rows (which run roughly East~West).
The vineyard is just North of the Rubicon/Inglenook vineyard. Originally it was owned by Gustav Niebaum, later sold to the John Daniel family, and then sold to Hublien, which eventually portioned it off to other owners.
Click the close-up below for a bit more detail...

So why is it there, and what's it from? It's an old airstrip form decades ago...
John Daniel used to fly his plane into "Rutherford International" - as it was nicknamed - just North of their winery. The fascinating thing about it is that after all these years the compacted soil foundation of the strip is STILL visible to the naked eye, even though the hard surface was removed. The airfield can still be found on some old maps of the area.

Anyone wanna bet it produced at least a little variation in fruit set, ripeness, root depth, etc, when the vines were planted? Perhaps some of that variation still lingers today...

The vine rows are planted across the strip, and the only way to exclude it or vint it differently would be to pick around it, or possibly
that people would travel down most of the row picking, then pick the dozen-or-so vines into a separate bin and continue down the row to the end. Then turn down the next row & repeat...
Requests from winemakers to pick those portions above the old strip separate - although a valid request - might be what we call in the biz "anal", or less PC usage would be "a Bitch"...

Not all that easy on the pickers' or managers'
time, but something that could be done. Hopefully the vines above the strip don't have too much variation these days from the vines planted elsewhere in the vineyard, and they don't have to pick it separate.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pick it separately? no way. It looks like it isn't even ten percent of the vineyard and it cuts through rows. Assuming that it ripens earlier, why get a crew to pick a few vines in the middle of the row and the come back for the rest? In the worst case it's maybe a difference of 1.5 degrees brix, maximum. Aim for average maturity and farm the vineyard; winegrowing ain't gardening.

February 13, 2007 10:35 PM  
Blogger Freudian Slip said...

I can never get pictures that clear on google earth!

April 02, 2007 8:38 PM  

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