Vineyard Field Trips

‘Talent Borrows, Genius Steals’ -attributed to Oscar Wilde As I set out to structure this issue’s “Backyard Vines,” I revisited previous articles to see what vineyard subjects I’d neglected. Surprisingly, I found articles stretching all the way back to 2003, which means 2007 marks the fifth vintage for me as a WineMaker columnist. Letting this sink in and resisting the urge to celebrate with the aid of a fifth of some spirit (it’s 8 a.m. here in California, which even for a winemaker is a bit early for the first drink), I dug into my previous pieces for inspiration, searching out the gaps in the articles. What subjects have yet to be covered? But instead of finding gaps in our ongoing narrative of backyard viticulture, I discovered a subject that is touched on in almost every article, but never explored thoroughly: vineyard field tripping, or getting out of your own backyard and visiting other vineyards. The purpose of field tripping is to learn from other growers’ mistakes and successes, consider vineyard practices from a different point of view, and then return