It is no coincidence that Easter and spring are inextricably linked to the rebirth of life–indeed Easter is the very celebration of spring symbolized in the Christian faith as the reincarnation of Christ. This is the time when after months of dreary winter we are reassured that the sun is actually still there despite doubts to the contrary.
The Hallelujah Chorus, still one of the most moving pieces of orchestral work in the entire orchestral repertoire that ranks up there with Beethoven’s 9th and Dvorak’s New World Symphony, celebrates rebirth. That is how it was this year when that winter of winter’s dragged out with endless storms and record-breaking low temperatures. Some vineyards in our area were hit badly, not just with crop loss but also vine loss. The dreaded winter-kill that we were warned about when we first planted usually requires temperatures below 0° F which we had on one or two occasions when that Arctic “wobble” made us all wobble at the knees. We managed to escape but we know of some vineyards that lost as much as 50% of their plants and that is seriously damaging to the survival of a vineyard. Ask me why we dodged that one and I will readily admit that I have no idea. You must have heard of the vineyards that flew helicopters over the vineyard to keep the air moving and invert the warmer upper layers of the atmosphere to prevent frost damage and in some cases it does. I guess my only suggestion is that the natural contours of our vineyard allowed cold air “drainage” as a mechanism by which we escaped- and escape we did – Hallelujah!
Today I am writing at a crucial time in the life cycle of the vine, the period of efflorescence, or the flowering of the vines. Remember that the vines we grow are vitis vinifera, a species of grape from the Old World that is self-pollinating – the plant is a hermaphrodite! So this is when pollination occurs and when the fruit is “set.” This is when we get a good crop if the sun shines and a poor crop if it does not. Plants need extra carbs at this point so pray for sunshine – just for the next two weeks.
Bill Tonkins, our ever-diligent Field Marshall, has planted 1200 replacement vines and after the harsh winter the prospects are good for decreased disease pressure.
Emily and the cellar crew (and by the way Paul Shaffer is still slogging away), have bottled Rose, Red Star and Vintner’s Reserve–the VR is yet to be released.
Jill is back into full swing with weddings and Jon, our Executive Chef, just last week worked a Farmhouse dinner, a 200 person wedding on Friday, a 120 person wedding on Saturday and a 175 person Mother’s Day brunch. Way to go Jon!
Judy Stiber, one of our tasting room managers, celebrated 10 years at Veritas despite back surgery and having to work with George.
Ray Isle, the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine, visited the area to taste regional wines. We hosted him for a dinner at The Farmhouse which was also attended by Gabriele Rausse, Luca Paschina, and Michael Shaps.
Another hallmark of spring! Last year we had 5 ewes – remember we named them last year. The one with the best voice we called Ewephonia, there is one girl who is so happy so we decided to call her Ewephoria, the one I adore the most I decided to call Ewedora and the first one we found we called Eweurka! Well they were bred last year so that coming into spring this year we had eight pregnant ewes and now we have thirteen – yes thirteen new lambs!
If you have difficulty putting a face to a name or a name to a face I would defy anyone to pick out their favorite. I have to say thank you to Brad Lawler who installed the solar system at our house as well as being a proud supporter of the Veritas wine club. He was so struck with last year’s newsletter about our names for the sheep that he and his office came up with names for our new boys and girls:
- Lambo – soon to be Rambo – a particularly aggressive young lamb
- Lambakus – in honor of the solar installers – Abakus
- Lambchester United
- Alexlambster the Great
- Lamb dunk
I particularly like Lamborghini – he’s the fast one with Lambo being a close runner up.
KATIE & CHRIS LANGLEY
Here is a great story of the charm and hidden powers of Veritas. Katie and Chris Langley would come to Veritas often and then Chris proposed to Katie at Veritas. Naturally they got married here and now they have a lovely baby daughter who was two and a half months when the first baby picture was taken and is now almost two! I am hoping to start a Veritas baby book for all those lucky brides who got married at Veritas. So to all those Mums who married at Veritas, please send in your baby pics and we can create a Veritas baby book.
MAN OF THE YEAR
Just as Jill Shirey was our top employee last season, so David Graves is our top employee for this season. And although Ruth rolls her eyes, David does deserve a special mention as being almost as valuable as Jill – just kidding. David has been with us from the get-go. He helped us put up our first building, then the tasting room, then the wedding facility, and he was the contractor for our Farmhouse extension way before it became a B&B.
You name it and David can fix it – we named a vineyard after him – wait for it – “The Graves Yard.” His daughter Megan graduated last weekend and, like all Dads, I know his relief! David is as constant in his ability as the Northern Star of whose true fixed and lasting quality there is none other in the firmament! (Julius Caesar)
Things To Come
Yes folks, the first Starry nights of the 2014 season starts June 14th- everybody pray for stars!
The girls are as lovely as ever as we go through Easter and Mother’s day of 2014.
And as Walter Cronkite would say, “That’s the way it is on this beautiful day in spring.” May your fancy turn to things of love and happiness.
That is all the news from the Veritas family where all the children are above average and all the parents are paying for it!
Retired Bottle washer, winemaker and dilettante