Maynard James Keenan: Biodynamics For Dummies
With few exceptions, knowing is better than not knowing. As they say, "Knowledge is power."
If you believe this as much as I do, then you can understand why some of our historic monsters went to such great lengths to eliminate knowledge and why forward thinkers and the socially conscious would die to preserve and protect it, although those extreme actions seem quite ludicrous these days. Imagine taking a bullet to protect the secret hiding place containing your calculator/abacus, dictionary, typewriter, or copy of Biodynamics for Dummies. Crazy talk.
When I planted my first vines in 2004, I was definitely shooting in the dark, jumping off the deep end, swinging for the fence. Pick one. I had no pool or database of accumulated research, agricultural history, or any relevant experience from which to draw before taking/making said shot/leap/swing. And as such, mistakes were made, poor advice followed, near disasters narrowly averted. Or not. I learned some expensive lessons. And there are still more lessons ahead. I'm keeping records in the Bunker and Chris Turner is keeping records in the field, but time is against us when it comes to establishing patterns and maps by which to navigate. We get one chance a year to get this right. The database is growing, but I sure could use a crystal ball.
Good news. There is hope for that crystal ball on the horizon. On the Clarkdale Campus of Yavapai Community College, that database dream is becoming reality. In 2010, I planted one acre of Negro Amaro next to what used to be the campus racquetball courts. Just before that, YCC began to offer wine appreciation courses, which quickly filled up. Those classes were followed by the addition of viticulture courses, which also filled up. The college now offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in enology and viticulture. The head of that program is Nikki Check, mayor of Jerome and a former Merkin Vineyards employee. And in June of this year, Nikki, with the help of 200 volunteers, planted an additional four acres, with plans to expand that site to a full 28 acres. And that's just the intro.