No matter what the task or the season demands, the Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 is indispensable in this family business.
As the sun rises over leafy grapevines still wet from the downpour the night before, Emily Jones slides into her Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 to make her morning rounds. She opens the tip-out windshield so she can feel the breeze and slowly makes her way through her vineyard’s long, muddy rows. Stopping occasionally to clip off a few plump red grapes, she lays them in an old milk crate she keeps in the cargo box with other tools.
“We just got a lot of rain, and we’re checking to see if the numbers — the sugar and pH levels — match what the wine team is looking for,” she says. “I’ll drive up a row and randomly pull out a cluster. The closer we get to harvest, the more frequently we do it. Right now, the Cabernet is close, but nothing else is ready. With so many varieties of grapes and so much ground to cover — 65 miles of vineyard rows — I’d never be able to get this done without the Ranger. It’s an indispensable tool.”
As vineyard manager of Slate Mill Wine Collective and Slate Theory Winery in the Texas Hill Country outside of Fredericksburg, Jones, 27, oversees the day-to-day farming operations for the family-owned business — 150 acres of vineyards spread over four locations, with more than a dozen varieties of grapes planted in blocks, like the squares of a quilt.
“I’ve never been so busy in my life,” says Jones, who landed the job three years ago, right out of college with a viticulture degree from Texas Tech University. She met her future husband, Chase, also 27, on her first day of work; when his family bought the business, she helped them expand.
“I don’t really have a title because we’re family,” she says. “I do whatever I need to do that day. One day, I might be in the vineyard training grapevines; another, I might be taking pictures for social media or contacting people for marketing opportunities. I wear a lot of hats.”
No matter what the task or the season demands, her roomy Ranger Crew XP 1000 helps her get the job done — and the family business depends on it.