As I mentioned previously, I knew nothing about wine growing. Fortunately, the people in Paso Robles were really nice. I visited a few times and asked a lot of questions to a lot of people, in a lot of places. Long story short, I found a great group of folks who were able to clear the orchard and who introduced me to one Steve Crouch. I could write a whole section on Steve, but the bottom line is that Steve has years of experience in farming - everything from walnuts, peaches, squash, you name it.
When Paso started to become a center for wine growing, Steve migrated to farming the grape. He has worked at some of the best vineyards in Paso and he specializes in "dry farming," which means that no irrigation is used in the vineyard. Yep, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Steve's job is to make it all happen. And he did.. Like the expert he is.. And even more importantly, he became a great friend to me during the process.
After saying "good bye" to a couple hundred walnut trees, in early 2007 we planted 15 of the 37 acres. When I say "we," it was actually Steve and a great crew of contractors, but why let facts get in the way of a good story?!
That's me, Willie Newman, on the left with my extremely talented and knowledgeable vineyard manager, Steve Crouch.