The history of Innergation actually began almost 70 years ago. Rick’s Grandparents bought an old farm in 1952 with prunes, apples and grapes which was typical for that era. His Father worked the property for over 25 years. Rick enjoyed being a country boy and spent his youth working and playing on the property. Rick did not regret the decline of the prune industry as he has not pleasant memories of shaking the prunes from the trees and loading lug boxes on the truck. Back then, a person’s work was his bond. When his Father was having trouble paying off a John Deere MC crawler, Chris Fredson, of Fredson Winery wrote him a check and said, “ I will take it off next years’ crop”.
In the early 1960’s, Rick developed an interest in weight training and welding. His parents bought him a Lincoln 225 Amp welder and began making farm equipment and strength equipment. The welding came in handy in the early 1970’s when a hard freeze cracked the head of the tractor.
After college Rick developed a business building strength equipment which continues to the present. Rick and Kathy raised their family there and their daughters Kim and Chrissie developed an interest in agriculture and are involved with Innergation and making the grape industry more sustainable. Both achieved Masters degrees from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in agriculture.
In 1997 Rick with wife Kathy’s support decided to plant Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on their hillside property Working the land in conjunction with Grace Vineyard Management provided the impetus to try to improve the drip system.
After several attempts at directing water to the roots, Rick came to the realization that another avenue was needed to make the project efficient and affordable. The revelation came in 2014 with the invention of a drip tube hanger to which spaghetti tube can be attached. This allows water from the emitter to be moved along the suspension wire and held in position.
Ricks inventive background led to the development of the new drip tube hanger and several innovative methods of directing water subsurface. Kim’s soil science background will provide knowledge of how to best prioritize the beneficial aspects of subsurface moisture.
With your help expanding upon our practices, the FORUM page will seek input from all in the viticulture industry to develop the most efficient and cost effective methods for changing how vineyards are irrigated.