If you look at vineyards around the world, you'll see a large number of them with roses at the end of the rows. We've heard that roses were used as an early indicator of potential problems with the vines. Also, we've heard that roses, and specifically the thorns of the roses, were used to make sure horses pulling carts back in the day made a wide enough birth when switching from one row to the next.
At Rhumb Line Vineyard, as in parts of France, we decided to plant lavender at the end of the grapevine rows.
We planted our first lavender back in 2017. The plants are green year round and provide a nice oasis in the middle of what can sometimes be a very brown off season. Once established, we are finding that the lavender takes a lot less water than the traditional rose, a benefit in our high, desert climate.
We have three different varietals of lavender planted at Rhumb Line Vineyard:
- Grosso - L. x Intermedia
- Provence - L. x Intermedia
- Royal Velvet - L. Angustifolia
Harvest of these varietals starts in June and continues through July. A second harvest may occur if the conditions are right. At Rhumb Line Vineyard, we take the lavender and process it in several different ways.
First, we cut the lavender and sell it in traditional bundles. These bundles can start out as fresh lavender, providing a long lasting bouquet that brings beauty and fragrance to any setting. We also dry these bundles which preserves the color and aroma for future display. From the dried bundles, we are able to remove the buds for our sachets and culinary products. We love the subtle flavor of lavender in our fig balsamic jam and during the summer, in our ice cold, lavender-lemon water.
If we aren't using the raw lavender in culinary, we are processing it for our essential oils and hydrasol. This process requires the distillation of the lavender flowers in a large kettle. It takes about one pound of flowers to make 10-15 mL of oil. We use the oils in our soaps, lip balms, candles, and other natural beauty and aromatherapy products. We also take the hydrasol and essential oil and add it into our diffuser for peaceful and calm night's sleep.
We have found lavender to be a great addition to the property. We can't wait to show you around if you ever get the chance to make it to the vineyard. Cheers from Willcox.