A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



Happy New Year!

First Christmas at the Vineyard

Our first family holiday enjoyed from our home overlooking the vineyard... a weekend so magical I nearly expected to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer flying over the vineyard up to our chimney-top. Four children, spouses/fiances, three grandbabies, seven dogs (not counting Dan and Bella!) were present to initiate this house and a "Christmas Vineyard" into our holiday memory bank. Our Saturday morning sunrise above the clouds added to the experience, when we truly felt like we were in that place where heaven and earth join... Ankida.

A Family That Prunes Together Stays Together!
We, of course, spent much of our time together in the vineyard, where everyone learned how to pre-prune the vines, getting a feel for a dormant vine and the life that lies within it. They got to feel with their fingertips the two tiny buds left behind that will bring us next year's growth, the little buds that will eventually become the main trunk of the vine. For now they are waiting quietly till spring. Then one sunny mild day after a warm spring rain they will wake up and begin their reach to the sky, on their quest to become the "lifeline" to the minuscule structure of the grapes themselves already nestled deep within them. But for now, they rest, as do we.

Bella Guards a Different Kind of Flock
Our now 85lb and still growing puppy, Bella, has learned quickly how to guard the flock of sheep, our "woolly weeders of the vineyard". She now does most of the night barking and chasing while her mentor, Dan, stays put, letting out a bark or two, having in his mind reached semi-retirement now that Bella can take over. Bella kept us company in the vineyard, and as dusk grew thick and the air chilled, she offered up a bountiful supply of nuzzling and warmth.... and in those moments I am sure, thought nothing of the sheep she was supposed to be protecting! But rest assured, if anything had tried to harm any of us at the time, she would have sprung into action and guarded her flock of family.

And Our Orchard...
At the southeastern tip of the vineyard, everyone got to plant their own vintage variety of apple tree that we purchased from the most delightful of apple tree farms, Vintage Virginia Apples in Albemarle County (www.vintagevirginiaapples.com). They have created a virtual living museum of historical and rare fruit trees. It warms my heart to be able to support their work. We planted such exotic varieties as Arkansas Black, Rhode Island Greening, Winter White Pearmain and Albemarle Pippin. We will add to this collection as time goes on, creating an orchard to complement our vineyard. As is required in the vineyard, we will have to exercise the virtue of patience as we wait the two or more years to taste the fruit of our labors. Our toddler grandsons are too young to remember this planting, but in years to come they will certainly delight in tasting the fruit off the trees they helped plant this Christmas of 2008.

A Winter Solstice Moon to Remember
The first day of winter arrived just days after a full moon that was the largest appearing moon in over thirty years. I walked down to the vineyard that night to catch a glimpse of this sight and savored the symbolism of this mighty winter solstice moon hanging brightly over our new vineyard.

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

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