I have 20 Pinot Noir vines growing in my front yard. Actually, instead of my front yard.
When I bought my home, it had a front yard full of grass that was kept alive by a sprinkler system and regular watering. The problem with grass is that you can’t drink it. Well, okay, you can. And I’m not saying wheatgrass juice is disgusting, I’m just saying it triggers an uncontrollable gag reflex in me.
The point is that your typical lawn is not meant for, nor would it be very good for consumption. Yet it tends to take up a lot of land. Sometimes acres. When I bought my house it became a mystery why someone would spend so much money buying land, and then spend more money to water and upkeep a lawn, usually by running some gas-burning lawn mower. A lawn is something that only takes from your wallet and the environment and never gives anything back.
Maybe because I value the earth, maybe because I see real estate as an investment that should produce returns, maybe because after renting landless apartments for years all I wanted was a patch of dirt to grow something edible on, to know where my food came from, to decrease the carbon footprint from importing and shipping, to not conform to some wasteful standard of property usage that came from a tradition of thoughtless suburbanizing, for the health of myself and the world, and for sure with inspiration from people like Ron Finley and Julie Bass… for so many reasons I see so much more potential to land than a yawn, I mean lawn.
So I ripped out my grass and put in a vineyard. And not just any vineyard. These vines are the clone descendants of Grand Cru vines from around Vosne Romanee… the mothership and ground zero for all things Pinot Noir. The crazy thing? You can easily get some for your front yard too.
If you haven’t heard of Foundation Plant Services then you haven’t heard of the Library of Congress for grapes. FPS is, to my knowledge, the largest living library of grapevines in the world. There’s nothing like it. They catalog and cultivate samples of every variety of known grape that they can get their hands on, and some that they can’t. When I die I hope to go to FPS, not heaven.
AND…. AND…. you can buy pretty much any of the vines in the library!! And they can ship them to you! (I know that’s a lot of exclamation points, but FPS is totally deserving.) And you can grow them right there in your front yard where all that useless grass is wasting space.
What could happen if you and your neighbors started growing grapes instead of grass? Imagine a neighborhood wine co-op where grapes and wine are shared and exchanged and tasted. Imagine your suburb becoming an AVA. Imagine your world transformed into a garden.
Okay, before I fully begin channeling John Lennon, let me just wrap this up by saying that future posts will give the how-to, step-by-step for growing and making wine from your front yard.