I grew up on 200 acres of farm land in Okeana Ohio – It was God’s Country. My grandfather’s farm was called Sunset Acres. As children, we would stand on top of the pig barn and watch the sun set behind the woods; “going, going, gone.” It was a beautiful way to grow up. We shucked corn, bailed hay, killed chickens for dinner (I wore surgical gloves – classic me), mowed the lawn in tank tops and grandpa’s boxers, ultimately grabbing the attention of Okeana’s women starved farmers. We deathly feared the daddy long-legs and mice that communed in our damp cellar. My grandparents were full-time farmers, raising generations of family from the small profits they made from working the land. Grandpa labored sunrise to sunset until the day he suffered a stroke at the ripe age of 81. It wasn’t until I was digging up 20 plugs of soil in the orchard with my little brother, that I recognized the hard work that my grandparents put into the farm.
A few days after digging up soil plugs, I shipped the dried dirt off to the Ohio State University & Michigan State University Agricultural Unit to see if our land is conducive to growing grapes for a vineyard. (read more below…)
The sample test cost a mere $12 bucks and within two weeks, I received my results. Above Average soil and nutrient levels. This was no surprise for me, considering that pear trees, apple trees, cherry & peach trees grow lush in the orchard. I’ve connected with a Michigan State University Professor by the name of Paolo Sabbatino, an Italian who specializes in grapes. I intend to discuss the test results to find out if these soil samples indeed translate to excellent grape growing conditions. My goal is to understand what I should look for in terms of soil composition and nutrient levels for successful grape growing environments. Here are my results: SoilSample. Step 2 of my adventure is to seek out a local expert who has successfully grown grape vines and produced wine. I already know who I am turning to; Krešo Mikulić of Vinoklet Winery in Colerain Ohio, 15 miles from my families farm.
I would like to call the vineyard Terrah Maria Vineyards. My dream is to host wine tastings in our converted barn. Groups of people, strangers and friends will gather at picnic tables, adorned with chabby chic Tuscan decor. I will serve classic Italian dishes and my grandmother’s most famous recipes that will each pair perfectly with our homegrown & made wines. My wine will be stored in our naturally chilled 55 degree root cellar, built in 1890, once we’ve evicted the daddy long-legs and mice. We will replace the cellars’ moist stone and rusted freezers with aged oak barrels, R-19 insulation, sealed concrete and the appropriate vapor barriers. I’ll also be adding a humidor to my collection filled with the finest cigars from all over the world and local tobacco, too. Stay tuned for more from Cork Stories… Salute, Terrah Maria