The very beginning of the vineyard at Five Sons was in 2005. It was the first warm day in May, our Cayuga White grape vines had arrived from Double A vineyards and we were excited to start planting our first grape vines!
We chose Cayuga White vines because they are a French American hybrid which grows well in our cold climate. Cayuga vines were first bred and now found predominantly in the Finger Lakes wine region of New York State. It is one of the more highly regarded hybrid varieties, giving light, citrus-tinged wines that can come in a range of styles, from dry and sparkling to late-harvest dessert wines.
The variety is a crossing of Schuyler and Seyval Blanc, a grape variety that has borne many of the United States' most successful hybrids. Cayuga was first bred on the northern edge of Seneca Lake in 1945, but wasn't released commercially until 1972, when it was given the name of neighboring Cayuga Lake.
We had our new vines, the land prepped and tilled along with 5 semi-eager boys, family and friends along to help. These are some of the fondest memories I have of the vineyard. We started early, the dew was beaded on the ground making wet boots with a mixture of fresh grass and earth in the air.
Time to get started, we trimmed the roots of the new vines and brought them to the field. We used the post hole digger on the tractor to dig deep holes for the precious new vines. The process was simple, grab a vine, put it in the hole and bury making sure the dirt was tightly packed around the roots. During the planting process we watered the vines to make sure the roots were moist. This is where the water boys came in. For most of the day you could here people calling out "water boy" which would bring a young man racing to the site with a small bucket of water. The littlest one splashing most the water out of his small bucket to arrive at the vine with just a few drops left that he would proudly pour on the vine.
We spent the day singing, laughing, telling stories and calling for our water boys. It is true that many hands make light work and I feel truly blessed that the lesson hard work can be fun, fulfilling and rewarding was taught that day. We ended with a banquet of food, drink and laughter with friends and family.
No matter what has happened since that day, the people who left us, the ones who have been taken into the glory of God, that day, our amazing sons, and the feeling of it will forever be one of the best days of my life. Cheers to our water boys, may they dream big and always remember their roots!