Eric really should have told me to take the right infront of the Amish lass picking flowers. She was there everytime I sped past. Eric Miller’s voice, recorded and replayed several times over the feeble speaker on my cellphone, is calmly giving directions to turn right at Mansion street.
After a few more circles through the Brandywine Valley, I manage to accidentally turn up that correct street–Natmensing Road–and drive between an home that looked to be propped up by tall grass and a barn that should have been. I turn up the hill, and am suddenly –potholes be damned– driving into a hilltop vineyard at 40 miles an hour.
Hitting the brakes as the rows of empty vines flicker by, I tuck the car against the deer fence on the top of the hill. Getting out in a juggle of camera, notebook and cellphone, I make a few stumbling steps until I can get my self in order. Calm and professional, I start walking into the nearest row of vines. Within a few steps, I loose my footing again. This time, its not just my inherent clumsiness, it is pure amazement.
Eric, the winemaker & co-owner of Chaddsford Winery, had called me a few days before. There was a possiblity of a ladybug infestation and he had asked me to tag along as he inspected the vines. He was planning to finally harvest his Cabernet Sauvignon in a few days, but such a infestation would mean problems. The bugs –if accidentally harvested with the grapes– would give the wine a nasty swampy smell.