An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

By John Pierce

My Ringgold High classmates Lee and Laura Kay provided a new and enjoyable experience for me this morning. Family and friends gathered at their beautiful Millstone Vineyard in the rolling hills of Northwest Georgia to harvest some Norton grapes.

Lee gave a quick lesson on which clusters to remove and a reminder to not remove any of our fingers. Laura offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the “harvest of friends and fruit.”

Help was aplenty, so the task was completed in a couple of hours. I filled a few buckets myself before giving into a good photo op and peppering Lee about how he got into this hobby and how the climate differs from other places where grapes are grown.

His answers: He and Laura returned from a visit to Tuscany about a dozen years ago with a viney idea that grew into fruition. (Further inspiration came from visiting vineyards from Napa to South Africa.) And humidity is higher in Georgia than in other grape-growing areas.

Learning such stuff while being outdoors on a nice September morning and reconnecting with friends of old made for an enjoyable time.

I have built decks and fences, installed tile and laminate flooring, created stack-stone planters and landscape block retention walls — and planted everything from A (arborvitae) to Z (zinnias) — but sharing in a ‘harvest of friends and fruit’ was a new, good way to spend a Saturday morning in Ringgold, Ga.


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