A grapevine toast from the wine country of Sonoma, California! Our recent visit to the area endeared me all the more to grapevines and their culture, infusing grapevine Scriptures with a new depth of delight for having walked a land growing with grapes. Cheers, and welcome grapevine to the Plant Guide.
Garden Visit to Robert Hunter Winery
Our wine tasting excursion combined garden and vineyard in the most marvelous way, as if we were guest to the rustic grandeur of King Solomon.
Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened
Song of Songs 7:11-12 NIV
My husband and I spent two nights in the charming “village” of Sonoma, and enjoyed a tour with Captain Steve, from Ultimate Wine Tours. He led us to Robert Hunter Winery, which turned out to be a glorious garden surprise! The boutique vineyard has a rich heritage of landscape design, the original grounds laid out by Thomas Church (1903-1978), a distinguished landscape architect and leader of the “California Style.”
When the late Robert and Ann Hunter acquired the property, Ann’s passion for gardening and plant collecting was poured into preserving and growing the garden influence as Robert established the winery. The unassuming, single-story home “on a fertile hillside” flows effortlessly out to the garden, creating an intimate connection to the land.
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.
Isaiah 5:12 NIV
Winery tours begin in Ann’s garden, with the acres of grapevines beyond peeking through a varied border of small trees and specimen shrubs. White flowers bloom in pockets across the property, and the vineyards are hedged in blossoming white oleander. Tours celebrate the garden legacy under a trellis of white wisteria with a champagne toast, a delightful and exquisite sparkling wine handcrafted by Robert Hunter III, son of the namesake.
You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land… Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself.
Psalm 80:8-9, 14-15 NIV
A Grapevine Toast
No matter how we enjoy the grapevine, fresh grapes on the table or in glasses of wine, from garden or grocery store, may its meaning intertwine our hearts with God’s. Here’s to the One who watches over us, who is devoted to our care.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
John 15:1 NASB
The Vinedresser’s Creed
excerpt from God’s Word for Gardeners Bible
Matching species to climate, and terrain to vine’s need
Of air circulation — morning’s dew must be freed.
To grow without mildew, disease or rot,
You must be placed thoughtfully; resist it not.
The vine is hardy, though needs an eye to detail.
A knowing hand pinches back, that its vigor prevails
In sweet, bursting fruit, not trails of rambling stalk.
For the vinedresser’s pursuit, daily he walks.
He knows each branch, each leaf, each grape bunch;
He tends them with wisdom, not on a hunch.
Intimate knowledge paired with infinite pride
In the branches He tends — His love, His bride.*
Learn more about Grapevine in the Plants Guide: http://www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/grapevine/
*I wrote this little verse inspired by the information
from the 1883 catalog of Bush & Son & Meissner,
Illustrated Descriptive Catalog of American
Grape Vines, telling of the intimate craft and practice
of grape growing and how much a vinedresser
knows about his vine. (from Endnotes, God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, page 1488)
Photo Credits: © 2015 Shelley S. Cramm