Rod Prince has had many adventures during his lifetime. But none quite compete with the one he is on now.
In March, Prince began an adventure with a few grapes. Well, root stock, which will yield grapes over the next three years, eventually turning his plot of family land on County Road 351 into a vineyard.
“The land was just sitting here wasting away,” he said. “I remember coming up here as a little boy and the land was just beautiful. I just wanted to make the place work again.”
After talking with his son-in-law, Brent Frazier, the two teamed up with a third planner, Frazier’s best friend from college, Stan Johnson. Johnson is the owner of Whistling Duck Vineyard in Weimar.
For two days last spring, Prince and 20 other people comprised of family and friends, planted 702 vinifera plants on three acres of the family farm, transforming the small plot just east of Dublin into a future vineyard.
“I was doing the irrigation (system). They were planting,” he said.
Now, the section of land boasts of growing vines that will produce red and white wine and have taken towards the sky, literally. Grapevine plants grow up and small vines attach themselves to several wires strung between wooden post, allowing additional support for budding grapes.
Although the plants are showing promise, some already pregnant with tiny grapes, it will be three years before the fruit can be processed into wine.
“This year’s energy was spent to develop trunks,” Prince said. “It will be three years before grapes harvest with good taste.”
As the weather grows colder and a hard freeze sets in, the plants will begin their annual sleeping pattern.
“After the first freeze they’re going to dump all their leaves and go dormant,” Prince said.
Until then, Prince will continue his daily ritual of pruning the plants and waving to his neighbors as they pass.
“I would have thought by this time of the year the fun was over, but they are still making leaves,” he said. “Most of them are looking really good. I’m impressed.”
Prince doesn’t mind giving tender loving care to the vines, he says it’s a great job.
“For an old guitar player and electrician it’s a pretty good job,” he said. “On days like today (sunny and cool) I’ll probably be out here all day. I enjoy it, it’s quiet and peaceful.”