Behind the Scenes | Napa Valley

This past month I have been working with my favorite web gurus designthis! and one of their newest clients Crop Care Associates, a vineyard consulting company, who will be enjoying their new website very soon. A "consulting company" isn't necessarily the most riveting subject to photograph, however working alongside CCA has afforded me a chance to peek into a world that I never knew existed, yet see every day; the vineyards.  Vineyards are an everyday occurrence when living in this region and frankly we sometimes grow blind to their beauty, probably the same for Maine residents driving past all of their statuesque lighthouses, yet millions of visitors flock to this wine country region every year because it is so unique and I felt very fortunate to help tell this photographic story.

This past week I shadowed Bob and Kristin of CCA, snapping photos of them giving pruning demonstrations, checking the tall mustard grass for particular insects and peeling back bark in search of pests, all while getting a fascinating glimpse of what goes on long before that glass of wine touches our lips.

Did you know... a) The yellow mustard grass (which is also very fragrant) has no benefit or detriment to the grapevines; it is completely ornamental.  b) Yet, some flowering plants, such as sweet peas, are planted in between the rows specifically for their organic/symbiotic relationship. c) The productive lifetime of a vine is 30-35 years, although the quality can remain good for even longer, the yield begins to decrease after that. d) 4-6 bottles of wine are created per vine.  e) The cost of an acre of new vineyard in Napa Valley ranges between $120,000-300,000.  f) Based on 2008 numbers, there were 45,158 vineyard acres in Napa County, yet it's only 9% of total land area.