Journey: Thoughts and Reflections along the path. 

Sheldon Haynie
April 30, 2013 | Sheldon Haynie

Full Throttle Farming and Lunar Reflections

This morning I went to spray our newest vineyard, 16 acres in the East Gilroy foothills. Planted in 2000, a mix of Merlot, Syrah and Barbera this vineyard has been roughly treated the last years. We were contacted in Mid April to assume management by the owners who had been abandoned by the previous management firm and to say the least the vineyard was shaggy.

It had been pruned, but there was no weed abatement, nor irrigation checkout and the Merlot was only showing 4" shoots vs the 15" we have up the road at Athena's. Once we agreed on terms, it was imperative therefore to move quickly, so there I was at 0430, starting the tractor and heading up the first row.

This vineyard has the longest rows I have ever driven, and fortunately it's relatively smooth and at 9' wide not too hard to steer. The 5 minute trip from end to end allows time to observe and reflect, even at full throttle on the Kubota, you are only doing about 6mph.

There was a waning moon over the South East, the direction the vines travelled up the gentle grade. Other that a few terrified rabbits there was nothing else moving, no traffic, no planes in the sky. Background processes get more cycles in this case and I mused on the path that Lightheart Cellars has traveled from inception in 2009 to today. We are poised to grow as fast as we can establish a market, and have access to some excellent fruit, with at least 100% more tonnage than we need this year. The hard work that Jane and I have invested seems to be paying off, we can "see the surface from the underside", because we are starting to ascend, no longer on the downward trajectory you have at first when taking that leap into the deep end.

We are multiply blessed;

  • Life has been good to us in general, we are mostly healthy and active
  • We have both had our share of challenges and we have triumphed over them singly and jointly.
  • Our families are well, generally happy and healthy and doing far better than many we know.
  • Our work with Lightheart Cellars is starting to pay back in many ways: Actual financial profit is forseeable, employment for some who need it, and contribution to the community.

It makes those pre-dawn tractor days worthwhile.



Time Posted: Apr 30, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Sheldon Haynie
April 10, 2013 | Sheldon Haynie

Back in the saddle

April is a transistion month in a vineyard, the big pruning is done and the vines are starting to show shoots. Its a time of vigilance for frost, of weed suppression mowing and spraying. We will get our first fungicide and foliar spray in later this month when the shoots are 6-12" and then its time to thin and sucker.

With the our new "Chirala Vineyard" we have the chellenge of mowing extended rows at 72" wire to wire. Teaching your granddaughter to do this is a challenge of itself. 


Time Posted: Apr 10, 2013 at 5:32 AM