My family owns and operates a beautiful vineyard in central Ohio. Most people only think of prized wines coming from Napa Valley or from other warm climates. We have successfully raised grapes and bottled award-winning Ohio wines for decades. As we care for the vineyard, it takes care of us with scenes of beauty, lovely wines, and a profitable business.
We are proud to offer organic fruit, juices, and wine from our vineyard. There are no harmful pesticides, hormones, or fertilizers ever used on our grapes. Our husbandry techniques are some of the same ones that have been used for centuries. One of my grandfather’s ideas for pest control was free-ranging chickens. The chickens feast on pesky bugs on our vines and aerate the soil with their scratching. Their droppings also provide beneficial nutrients to the soil.
Like a farm, no vineyard is complete without a dog. We adopted a mix-breed puppy from our local animal shelter and we knew he was going to be a giant. Because of his size and since he would be living in a vineyard, our children named him Grape Ape. He is like one of the family and does a great job chasing away predators. Fortunately, he does not pay much attention to the chickens.
We have fencing around the perimeters of the vineyard and Grape Ape wanders around them throughout the day. He cannot get into the vineyard itself because grapes are poisonous to dogs. Each day, he follows us out to the barn and goes with us while we do our chores. He barks with glee as he plays with the children. Grape Ape also keeps the rest of the barn yard animals in line. The cows are not as stubborn to bring in from pasture with Grape Ape nipping at their hooves.
Recently, one of our hired hands accidently left out a tub of fermented grape mash that was going to be discarded. It sat out all night by the side of the fermentation building and the chickens decided to sample it the next morning. We were welcomed to quite a sight out in the fields. A bunch of inebriated chickens were chasing Grape Ape and he was running for his life. They were staggering, flogging with their wings, and cackling at the top of their lungs. Grape Ape sure earned his supper that day!
Speaking of supper, we take the nutritional needs of our animals seriously. Grape Ape gets a clean bill of health periodically at our vet and gets all his necessary booster shots. When it comes to dog food, we trust the same brand that dog owners have for over a century: Purina. They make Grape Ape’s favorite dogfood, Beneful.
When we checked the ingredient list, we found that Purina Beneful has pure proteins, vegetables, and fruit. There are none of the questionable bi-products found in a lot of other brands. Beneful has a taste that our dog loves and has blends for every stage of his life. We depend on Grape Ape to keep watch in our vineyard. He depends on us to keep him happy and healthy. That is why we depend on Purina’s Beneful.