Sometimes long time wine country residents listen to newcomers with rapt attention all the while thinking, “They will learn…” Newcomers are full of new ideas and a spirit that we never want to squelch. Without the new ideas we wouldn’t continue to grow and be ever more relevant as a tourist place, an agricultural center and a great place to live. But there are a few constants I’ve learned along the way that may help newbies and old timers alike. Call them uncommon thoughts on the common things we know around here:
- Visitors will never bring wine as a gift because they believe our cellars are overflowing or that we own a winery. It’s a mistake.
- Gophers don’t take vacations. They are active throughout the year and are just as annoying in the winter as they are in the summer and all times in between.
- Machines that look like UFOs sweep down at night to pick grapes using lights and fishing string. The grapes are transported to another planet.
- Forget basketball, you can roll your ankle on an oak gall or a walnut and it’s just as painful as if you were playing in the NBA.
- All hoses, no matter how expensive, will kink up and get stuck on rocks. Running over the hos
- e with the SUV will come back to haunt you.
- Each year there are too many grapes or not enough grapes. There is never a year when there is just the right amount of grapes.
- Some trees will not allow anything to grow underneath their branches, no matter how expensive the plant you are trying to grow under the tree.
- If your dog poops in a 12-acre field you will find that poop and step in it.
- No property is complete without yard art that includes rusty old farm implements or even better, an old truck. The rustier the better.
- There is a reason why plants go on sale at the box stores. It means they are about to die. Maybe you can rescue them, maybe not.
- Irrigation is an art form best left to experts who can work black magic with black hoses. It is not an activity for amateurs.
- A degree from UC Davis is a real credential in a winery. Go Aggies.
- Snakes can climb trees. Enough said.
- A bat flying around in your bedroom at night is much larger than the ones you see flying around in the gardens.
- Tasting rooms are a convenient place to stop for a bathroom break when you gotta go. Have a taste while you’re there.
- The fight between development and agriculture will be going on long after we are gone.
- Some plants just don’t take and will die even those all the others around them will make it. It’s a mystery.
- Based on all the alerts I receive from Nixel, there are way more accidents, fires and road closures than I ever knew existed. Especially at 2 a.m.
- Crows can eat an English walnut through a very small hole they make in the shell. These are the ones you always pick up thinking “here’s a good one.”
- Wasp nests are best sprayed early in the morning or in the evening. They know how to chase people.
- Skunks like cat food. In fact, every wild animal and dogs like cat food. Cats and skunks
- get along. Not so for dogs and skunks.
- There is an infinite demand for wine that is unavailable.
- I hope that, although only a primer, the list of uncommon thoughts on some common wine country goings on might save you getting stung by a wasp or being scared by the big machines picking grapes in the vineyards at night.
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Rich Moran is “every man” (and woman) to Wine Country trying to make life easier.