Why Won’t the Grapes Grow?

Meet Judy and Vern Harper.

Here they are working in their vineyard within walking distance from my house. One bucket has water, one has new plants.
This particular vineyard has been a little tricky for them. They’ve been working it for 7 years now. Normally, the vines should be growing well and producing. They’ve had a few of the vines that are doing better here. Yet, they still had to come in and plant new ones.
It’s located at the top of a hill, next to the first cemetery in the county (no longer used) – in a very windy location. They wondered if the wind was causing the problem. However, there was no sign of wind destruction.
We have an excess of deer in our area. The conditions have made it so that during hunting season the hunters are not able to kill as many deer as allowed. Flooding, warm weather, and smart deer all contribute. Now maybe you are shuddering about killing deer. Stop that! Out here, the hunters are not killing for sport. Most of them are feeding families with that deer meat. The ones that hunt for sport are not allowed on my property.
Deer like to have different areas to play in. They need trees for cover from danger. They need running water for drinking. They need open areas to romp in. They need fields to find sustenance in. They tend to run in herds and use the same areas year after year. On my farm, we have trees, open fields, a creek, and lots of hills.

One day I was working in the cemetery, righting headstones, weed whacking and just enjoying the view. I was lying on my back, playing the cloud game. I heard this loud noise and sat up and looked over. There were about 10 deer in the vineyard! They had crossed the road, come up the fenceline, went through the trees and jumped over the fence. Eating grapes.
I called Vern and he immediately came and put up a higher fence. Problem of the grapes solved! It was too late last year to replant, so they are doing it now.
Moral of this story: Do what you know works. Look to others for conversations and observations about your product. Sometimes solutions can be found when you are playing the cloud game!
Website: www.townsendwinery.com
Phone: 641-456-2836
Vern and Judy are sponsors of my experience at SOBCon 09. Look for some fun changes in their website! And be sure to schedule a trip to the winery this summer — nothing better than good wine!

One Response to Why Won’t the Grapes Grow?

  1. […] operation located in Hansell, Iowa.  It’s also a small town success story.  I’ve written about them before and today I want to show you how they’ve partnered with other small businesses in North […]

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