Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
My anticipation always heightens at this time of year. Buds are swelling, sap is running and our “to do” list grows exponentially with each warming day. Year in and year out it’s the same routine, but somehow it never gets old. Needless to say, this seasonal ritual predates us and has been experienced by humans since crops were first domesticated some 10 000 years ago.
Through a bit of research I’ve discovered that the Lowrey family has a couple of interesting mottos adorning its Coat of Arms, perhaps shedding a little light on why we make our living as farmers. Depending on the spelling of “Lowrey” and the associated place of origin, the Coat of Arms features the words “Repullulat” or “Virtus Semper Virdis”.
Repullulat translates to “It buds afresh” – and the connection here is pretty obvious. Virtus Semper Virdis translates to “Virtue is ever green” – which could be interpreted a couple of different ways. I like to think that the earliest Lowrey’s foresaw the importance of growing crops and preserving the essence of land through sustainability.
This continues to be a focus of ours, both through vineyard practices and now in designing our wine operation. It is our goal to give Five Rows more of an authentic feel than other “spare no expense” operations. In other words, don’t expect glitz or polish when you pull into our driveway! We don’t even have a sign yet, but somehow people still manage to find us.
Some sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives we promote are: leaf removal and hedging of vines by hand; close proximity of vineyard to picking and crushing facilities; hand-picking of fruit, minimal wine handling; gravity racking (no pump); hand labeling; small, moveable wine tanks (making barn space more flexible); cold stabilization of wine is done outside using the cold temperatures (versus a climate controlled room); finally, we don’t cater to large tour buses.
I welcome any new ideas that you folks may have to aid in reducing our carbon footprint. This will help to strengthen our farm business and keep things “ever green”.