Richard A. Moran

Rich Moran

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.

Rich Moran is “every man” (and woman) to Wine Country trying to make life easier.

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