The milestone of a new vineyard begins, in truth, long before the morning I peeked into the cave to see the new vines. It was more than a year ago that I began chronicling the preparations at Boxwood to add seven acres under vine.
Perhaps you are a little amazed to see this is how they arrived from California. Fedex can ship you a vineyard in two boxes, I thought. Amazing. We lifted the top from the boxes and it was a remarkable experience. I have known the Boxwood vineyard since it was five years old and it was on third leaf before it was planted; these babies of the vineyard were an entirely new experience.
Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah, in neat, youthful, green stick-like, 24 inch bundles. Wiry young guns, the future of fine Virginia wine.
Adam gave them a hose-down until they were ready to be planted. Boxwood Winery's vineyard consultant, Lucie Morton inspected the shipments to be certain they met her standards and, thrilled with the quality of the vine stock, gave the nod to have them interred. That was May 23, 2012. Hole digging on the new block was underway on the hill in preparation.
Measuring out the vineyard and inserting the row guide-poles had taken more than a week. Seven acres, I have observed, is a lot of space. For Adam's team, also managing the existing vineyard, it was a tremendous undertaking.
Adam and our new vineyard management intern, Brice, measured and drilled 18" holes for each vine placement. The process was rather tedious: Measure, back the tractor up, hold the drill in place, "okay to drill," drill, pick it up, pull forward. Repeat, one thousand times, maybe more. I lost count.
The rows are spaced two meters by 1 meter: in easy terms: One stride between vines, two strides from row to row, roughly.
When it is all said and done, this is what you have: Row upon row of 18" holes, seven acres wide, down the left length of Boxwood's driveway. That was Friday, May 25, 2012. The temperature cleared ninety degrees at 1 pm that afternoon, it would remain that way for four days.
Saturday morning, May 26, 2012, just after 7 am, the vines emerged from the darkness of the cave where they awaited their debut and into the bright Virginia sunlight of a Memorial Day weekend which felt for all the world like a Fourth of July weekend if the heat was any indicator.
Ten sets of hands, those that will shape and guard the future of this vineyard, laid the vines of a new vineyard on that day.
A new Boxwood Winery emerged from the soil along with the five inch tips of vine peeking out of the soil.
I am pleased to introduce you to the 23 acre Boxwood Winery.
It is quite a contrast; what we were on Friday and what we are now. Upon the hill above the new block is where we began. Experienced vines of eight years were billowing above the youth of the new vineyard. The day before, Friday, we were different in many ways and I think now it is clear how we have grown since you first met Boxwood in 2005.
We were very proud on this day, though many were exhausted and spent. I think we all knew how far we had come, and it was not just across seven acres of land: As Boxwood and as Virginia fine wine, what a ride to this place, what a pleasure the journey has been.
Welcome, young guns, we can't to see you grow!