2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#601 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20201222_134530266_HDR.jpg
Took advantage of a nice day and decided to prune some of the big Chard vines today. Made it about 2 hours until my back started to get sore. These vines to to sparkling and are about 30 years old. Not much skill involved but it is physical. Cordon height right at my shoulder (I'm 6' 3") with most cuts higher. At least I'm not bending over? Anyway it was fun to take a break from the vine by vine decisions that young fields demand. Note: photo angle is looking down the row.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#602 Post by Casey Hartlip »

The la Nina high is beating this beautiful storm up. Two days ago the were predicting slightly over an inch, now they say .65. When it all said and done who knows. Some years all of our ponds are overflowing by New Years. Not this year.

I was back in the Gruner yesterday, today I walked the dog and loafed around.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#603 Post by Casey Hartlip »

I know I'm such a downer with the weather lately. Well.....we got 1.78" with this storm and I will smile today!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#604 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Casey Hartlip wrote: December 26th, 2020, 9:44 am I know I'm such a downer with the weather lately. Well.....we got 1.78" with this storm and I will smile today!
We also got a lot of rain...rained pretty steadily all yesterday and all night.
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email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#605 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Screenshot_20201229-152855.png
Could we possibly get a new year's gift after a dry December?
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#606 Post by Steve Edmunds »

stick a fork in it! 2020's done! champagne.gif

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#607 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Happy new year Steve, hope you and your family are well! Cheers
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#608 Post by Casey Hartlip »

I will close out the year with just a few rambling thoughts.
I started this career as a 19 year old knucklehead kid who grew up in the country caring for animals and range land. Luckily I met John Scharffenberger and he changed my life. I learned about land management and how to keep a balance with the land. I didn't know shit about grape growing in 1979 but it was a time in my life I was searching for something. I learned every about grape growing from the ground up. Pounding wood stakes all day, planting vines, learning how they grow and develop. Together the vines at Eaglepoint and I grew together and I worked hard at my craft.
I had success and failure all the time with the guidance of my mentor John S.
I quickly learned that growing grapes wasn't just about bringing fruit to market but that there was a whole nother journey. The journey to wine. I made my first barrel of wine in 1990. It was a Zinfandel and a week into the adventure I was hooked.
Over the next few years I learned the balance between growing grapes and making wine. It became clear that vineyard management, irrigation control, crop levels and picking at the right sugar levels all added up to make great wines.
In 1995 John S and I decided to start our own brand called Lonetree Winery (the Eaglepoint name was being used my LVMH who bought Scharffenberger winery). We made wine at a couple of different custom crush places and had mixed results. The fruit was good but the winemaking was on a learning curve. Then there was marketing and selling the stuff. WAY more than I was ready for. I learned about distribution and the three tier system. I learned it took a story to sell wine, and although I thought our story was fastenating there were hundreds of other well funded brands that had a leg or two up in us.
We continued to make our wines better. We were allowed to use the Eaglepoint name in 1999 and changed some of our production techniques for even higher quality. By 2005-2006I think we finally making decent to good wines but we still weren't making headway on the market. Just by luck we liquidated inventory after the harvest of 2007 right before the economic crash of '98. I felt like a failure, but knew my life was growing grapes to the best I could. Okay enough rambling for one year. Happy new year everyone.
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#609 Post by Steve Edmunds »

Happy New year to you, Casey! That was a cautionary tale, well told!

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#610 Post by Al Osterheld »

To paraphrase a former president of my college, "From time to time I think about entering the wine business, and I lied down until the feeling passes".

-Al

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#611 Post by Ken Zinns »

Thanks for the year-end story, Casey, and all of your updates throughout the year. Have a Happy New Year!
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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#612 Post by Sean Devaney »

Thanks for your story and history Casey. Happy New Year.

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#613 Post by Sean Devaney »

Thanks to all the farmers, winemakers, industry pros and all the great questions posted on this (and years past) threads. This thread has been invaluable to me in my knowledge, understanding and appriciation of what it takes to put that bottle of liquid I love so much on my table. [cheers.gif]

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Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#614 Post by Casey Hartlip »

I would just like to add, that I'm so blessed to have tried to create a wine brand. Had I not I would have always kicked myself for not at least trying. It has also made me a much better grape grower, as I understand both sides of the biz so much more. So often you hear of growers bitching about how wineries are trying to screw them etc, without really understanding the entire process. It's hard enough to sell great wine, but when the grower doesn't put full effort into it the winery is at an immediate disadvantage in the market place.
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