With the sun reaching towards its equinox, the spring sky is lit with a rainbow of colors as it sets.
The winter months of 2014 were unbearable. Lows in the teens and no restrooms or refuge in sight. I had to upgrade from the tent for the construction phase of the project.
Sometimes staying within your budget means you have to buy something that needs a little work. Luckily for me, the radiator blew out just after getting to the property...
Dave is a good guy. He is on the ball with his business and I appreciate that. I also appreciate that I can run my RV furnace now..... The first utility installed on the estate.
Ragnar the destroyer taking a nap in the shade of my water tank excavation. I wanted to move that soil under him, but I didn't want to wake him up!
We get a lot of vibrant sunlight here - even in the winter.
I found this shed on Craigslist. Then found a guy crazy enough to deliver it all the way to Sonoita. I am happy I have a place to put my tools and utility equipment now.
I dug this guy up while digging a trench for my water lines. Don't worry, he survived.
Ragnar was hit and killed by a car on February 11th. I buried him in a spot where he can forever greet future guests to the estate.
I could take a picture of the sunset every day here. Each picture would be different, and each picture would be uniquely beautiful.
In the early dawn hours, I rush to get the massive hole dug for my ADOT required cattle-guards. Working alone is hard sometimes. I had to find a way to keep my elevation stick upright in the hole while running back to the transit to record the elevations. The howling wind made this extremely difficult, but the show must go on.
The hole has been dug, leveled, and compacted. Installation is proceeding on schedule.
It was a long morning with no breakfast. At 1:30pm, with the cattle guards finally in place, it was time for lunch and a much deserved beer.
After a year and a half in the permit process, ADOT has required a small fortune must be spent to access the property. You can drive down the highway and see 99% of the other entrances consisting of dirt with a simple ranch gate in the fence-line allowing access. Not here, no we have soil compaction engineering tests, gargantuan cattle guards, concrete headers, SPEC 2 AB, and 4 inches of asphalt on top of everything. Hey - if I ever want to build a shopping mall here it will be a little easier right?
The final step in the entrance to the estate. Laying asphalt on top of the intricately prepared surface.
Hours were spent calculating the exact placement of the solar system. The panels need direct, south-facing sunlight. I wanted to place them near the entrance of the Tasting Room to showcase the technology, but doing that would have lowered the efficiency of the system. Ultimately, I decided it best to place the panels near the walkway down to the future patio tasting area; A compromise that will maintain 100% system efficiency.
Racking, not just separating the wine from the lees. Here my uncle Joel helps install the racking system for the six Kyocera photovoltaic panels awaiting installation.
Finally the off-grid power systems are functional.
Colin Bruce and I begin to install the tasting canopy. Many thanks to Tensile Shade Products for donating the lifeblood of our tasting room!
The man, the legend. Installing the earth anchors keeping the tasting room from blowing way.
Thanks to Jim Gardner from Hannah's Hill for lending a hand (and a tractor) in moving 20 tons of gravel bedding for our tasting room.
Ready to break in the new tasting room and release Rune Wines to the world.
Sonoita sunsets are always stunning and beautiful.
Literally, not figuratively. Our gray water drainage system will help feed trees and other plants with reusable water from the winery.
This is what you will see one day. Come down and try them!
Preparing a foundation is backbreaking work. This rebar will hold it together and keep it from cracking.
The big day has arrived! 52 tons of concrete begins to fill the form-work of our foundation.
Another legend of the west helps vibrate the concrete in the footings. This forces all of the air out from the concrete creating a stronger foundation.
The indoor tasting area has its concrete; now it is time to begin pouring the winery floor.
The rear section of our building will be a micro-winery. Notice the drain in the middle that will help shed water away from the floor.
After cutting a really messed up line with the concrete saw, I finally got the hang of it. Working out here is like a vacation every day.
A staunch supporter of the AZ wine industry enjoys a lovely Memorial Day tasting.