... At first we weren't exactly sure what it was: the eerie reddish-orange glow that appeared in the night sky. But since it was near the horizon, we quickly figured it out. It was, of course, the rising full moon; its strange tinge caused by massive quantities of soot particles from the wildfires burning in Arizona. Although we'd watched the news reports of the Rodeo and Chedeski fires that were scorching the tinder dry forests, my brother and I didn't think we'd see any indication of the Show Low blaze as we made our way to Maynard's desert getaway. But the moon ahead of us seemed like a hellish reflection of the Ponderosa pines and juniper burning 150 miles north-east of Phoenix. Was this an omen of sorts?...
- diary entry for June 25, 2002 e.v.

We’d left L.A. in the evening in order to keep the wine we were transporting (some of the finest vintages from Australia) from going bad during our trek across the hot desert. Now, eight hours later, we were starting to get antsy. So much so that we were tempted to open the Baccarat crystal decanter of Remy Martin Louis XIII that was riding up front with us and pour a dram or two into some plastic cups. Yet, we decided it wouldn’t be prudent. We were exceeding the speed limit and didn’t want to get pulled over with the noxious fumes of the devil’s candy on our breath. Odds were that the Arizona Highway Patrol wouldn’t cut us any slack because we were drinking from a $1,300.00 bottle of French cognac as opposed to a 12-pack of Coors lite from the shelves of the local Circle-K. And besides, Maynard might not have appreciated us popping the cherry on this particular beauty.

It was around 3:30 AM when we pulled into the dirt and gravel drive of Maynard’s property, the tract of land on which he was planning to develop vineyards. This was the real reason we’d made the trip, to meet with a geologist/soil expert who’d flown in from Northern California to take samples for analysis of physical and chemical characteristics. Even at this hour, Maynard was up, standing at the front door of the house, no doubt having viewed our dusty arrival on the monitors of an array of security cameras. He seemed a bit sleepy, but was anxious to have a look at his latest purchase, the wooden cases of Chiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons that had been rattling in the back for the past 10 hours. After the three of us carried the wine into the house, we gathered around a wooden table in the kitchen whereupon Maynard flipped a switch causing a bar, or to be more precise, a futuristic-looking, rotating liquor rack to rise from the middle of the table. This was well stocked with liquors, cordials, etc., including, so I noticed, another bottle of Remy Louis XIII. It appeared that someone had made quite an impression on this one. As if reading our minds (or at least our earlier thoughts), he offered us a drink from it. After considering this for a few seconds, we declined, wanting instead to check out the wine cellar before heading to our hotel to get some much needed sleep. As it was, we would have to get up in a couple of hours to meet with the geologist who had checked into the same hotel.


Walking down into the wine cellar, the first thing I noticed were the words ‘Behold the Blood of Christ’ glowing in sharp relief on the floor, this being projected from a small spotlight with a stencil that was suspended from the ceiling. As we toured the cellar (which holds some 5,000 bottles - with the racks now filled to about a third of their capacity), similar projections informed us where the various types of wines (cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, etc.) were located. It was all quite impressive, although admittedly I don’t know much about wines (I can tell you that I didn’t see any ‘jug’ types or wines in boxes). After the basic tour, we decided that we should probably head to our hotel. Seems we would have to get up extra early in order to have breakfast with the geologist. According to my brother, breakfast was of paramount importance to the soil expert; he had made this clear in several of the phone calls the two of them had during the past week. The idea of trading (or losing) sleep for some ‘grand-slam’ breakfast in a Denny’s/Carrows type place didn’t sit well with me. In fact, I never eat breakfast. I’d just as soon sleep in and wait for the egg to hatch into its grilled chicken sandwich.

Rooster or hotel wake-up call, it made no difference, it was way too soon to be getting up. My brother crawled out of bed and rang the geologist’s room. Hearing the phone ring on the other side of the wall, we both started laughing. Hearing the geologist’s muffled voice say "hello" on the other side of the wall, I laughed even harder. From what I gathered, he’d already showered, dressed and was now anxious to start working. In fact, he’d already had his breakfast without us! So there would be no waffle waitresses, eh. Hell, okay by me. Half an hour later, we knocked on his door so that he could follow us up to Maynard’s property. It was at that point that I noticed that the PH.D. was impeccably dressed in typical geologist attire, and that his work boots were immaculate (must have some German blood in him, I remember thinking). I also noticed that he had no personality to speak of. He was all business, which was probably good as I understand his hourly rate was even higher than mine.


The morning was spent with Maynard’s neighbor digging pits with a back-hoe, this as the geologist went about his business, taking soil samples from a dozen or so ‘horizons’ on the site, with the pit locations recorded (in longitude and latitude) using a GPS unit. Seeing all of the holes that were being dug, I amused myself by thinking what if our geologist was an impostor. Suppose he was some escaped mental patient that was having the back-hoe operator dig all over Maynard’s ‘backyard.’ What made me think of this was the way he was dressed. I still couldn’t get over a soil expert with unsoiled clothes and spotless work boots. Nothing seemed like it was ever worn before (the clothes of someone wanting to look like a geologist rather than the clothes of a geologist). Also, what about our breakfast? The real geologist had made a point that we should all have this grand breakfast before going up to Maynard’s place. It all seemed very suspicious to me.

Looking out at the clouds of smoke from the burning wildfires from the 50-mile view, Maynard, my brother and I walked about the property where other workers were engaged in various projects. There was a large trench were a sizable water tank would soon be put in. Still other workers were installing solar panels. Slowly but surely, Maynard was talking himself off the grid. And with that wine cellar and such, this wouldn’t be a bad place to ride out a global catastrophe. At another location, workers were laboriously digging the holes where they would plant diffuse shade trees on the terraces of the vineyards. These would have to be special trees purchased from local ornamental nurseries as too much shade wouldn’t work. So, despite the temperatures of the region, and knowing that the climate there would be considerably warmer (and at times colder) than that listed for premium winegrape growing (such as California for example), Maynard seemed confident that the report would be favorable for his ‘potable’ gold, and was already in the process of transforming his little piece of the Arizona desert into a Tabula smaragdina. It didn’t seem that long ago, I remember thinking, that he and I and others discussed the ‘far out idea’ of producing this special Templar wine. And even back then, he already had the name picked out for his future vineyard, complete with heraldry for the labels


As noon approached it started to get really hot in the desert. Once it seemed like things were going well with the geologist (he was no where to be seen), my brother and I decided to take off to a nearby town for some food and drink. Before going, we made plans to meet Maynard for dinner that night at an Italian restaurant that he had already selected. So we headed out, leaving before there was any more discussion of breaking up cardboard wine boxes in order to further insulate the ceiling of the subterranean grotto/wine cellar. Arrived in *** an hour later. After checking out the prices of Navajo prayer rugs, we spent the rest of the afternoon in a bar, sipping our favorite distillations while watching the wildfires on TV (the Show Low blaze being the only thing showing in Arizona at the time.) While doing so, I hunted down a copy of the local Yellow Pages. I wanted to get a head start on the menu of this Italian place of Maynard’s (for Italian fare can present a problem to the heathen near-vegan). Much to my surprise the menu was listed, but much to my horror, the entire thing was written in Italian. (NOTE: I ran into this same problem in Berlin a few weeks earlier. Once I had the Italian translated, I realized that the dish I was contemplating was some kind of salted horse meat. But surely they wouldn’t sell horse flesh, salted or otherwise, in Arizona, would they? Um, they might.)

(and percussion should be felt, not heard)

The bad news was that the Italian restaurant didn’t allow its patrons to bring in their own wine (many up-scale places do, charging the customer a ‘cork fee’). This meant that we were going to miss out on some really great red wines that Maynard had pulled from his cellar for the occasion. So, after studying the wine list and systematically eliminating nearly every vintage as being sub-par, Maynard and my brother finally (albeit reluctantly) selected a couple of bottles which they thought might be adequate to accompany the meal. So over good food, and good wine (at least it seemed good to me), we began to discuss the true objective of having the soil samples analyzed: This was to look for a bonanza of rare earth metals (the result of the impact of a celestial object in ages past) and to attempt to produce the special ‘Templar’ wine.


Once it is established that winegrapes can be grown on the property, we would have another lab analyze the soil for deposits of the these elements using a process known as emission spectroscopy (as well as a battery of other tests). During the night we talked about many things: About the possible meaning of "blue apples" and their relation to the so-called Giants (Annunaki?) that inhabited Eschol. We talked about al-khemical viniculture in relation to alchemical manna used to feed the ‘light-body’, and about the Egyptian names and symbolism in the area (as well as certain parts of Illinois). We discussed monatomic elements and high-spin phenomena (ORMES) and the controversial ideas of Arizona farmer David Hudson. We considered superconductivity of neural circuitry and its effect on human consciousness (in particular to enhance pineal activity and heighten perception). Besides emission and absorption spectra, we talked about finding metal salts and black alkali in connection with old-time native Arizonan miners in the area. Later, over another bottle of wine, we focused on the idea of the Merkabah as a communication vehicle between cells in the body (again, the idea of bio-superconductivity). We ended the night by discussing certain mysterious pages in ‘The Papyrus of Ani’ (The Egyptian Book of the Dead) of which Maynard has an excellent translation. Of particular importance, so we thought (as well as others), was that when the pharaoh went in search for enlightenment, during each successive stage on his initiation/journey, he asks the enigmatic question, "What is it?" The answer may lie in what the hieroglyphic symbol of this phrase represents.

Manduca panem tuum cum silentio


(DATED JULY 23, 2002)

The soils of the property are suitable for winegrape production. They are loam surface horizons over loam subsoils. The soil profile contains approximately 60-80% rounded cobbles. Surface and subsoil consolidation are generally acceptable and the present collection of natural flora has strong to moderate rooting to 24"-42". The slope of the land is estimated at 35% and terraces are planned. Deep tillage is not recommended on the terraces. The uniformity of the soil profiles from hole to hole would indicate that the profiles are similar further down the slope onto a neighbors property.

The overall soil fertility is moderate. Soil nitrate and potassium are high. Soil phosphorus is low. Some phosphorus would be expected to be liberated from the neutralized free lime. It is recommended that 20z/vine of triple super-phosphate be mixed into the planning hole along with the soil sulfur and compost.

The soil in the drainage toe and at the edge of the riser of the terraces is very similar. Therefore, double planting of the terraces would be expected to produce relatively uniform fruit, and permit greater yields per acre. Soil hazards associated with high sodium or boron are not evident.

The irrigation water quality is high. The levels of bicarbonate are high, but the acid requirement is only 30 gal/ac-ft of the water applied. Slightly more acid will be required to lower the water pH into the 6.0-6.6 range.

The climate is quite warm and in the Region V degree-day category. Several management practices can be employed to lesson the impact of the heat. The rootstock 110R is recommended, because it performs well in draughty and rocky soils and it induces a relatively late (by 1-3 weeks) bud-break compared to most other rootstocks. The terraces could be planted with diffuse shade trees every 50=100 feet to lower vineyard temperatures. Considering the amount of sun this vineyard will receive, the interception of some of this sun by shade trees would not be expected to significantly reduce fruit quality.


Q: According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, Vitis Vinifera may have originated in Egypt. I also understand that the grape was a symbol of the dying and rising god (Hathor), but are there any murals in the Egyptian tombs that refer to this "al-Khem-ical viticulture" that you have written about?

A: Although it’s generally known that vines depicted in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings symbolized the deceased’s hope for resurrection, the INITIATED priesthood was very careful to conceal the secrets of their more esoteric viticultural activities. There are, however, references to this Art (or science) in the "Papyrus of Ani" (The Egyptian Book of the Dead). Wine was also known as the perspiration of RA, and The Green (blue?) Eye of Horus referred to wine (and was said to be the grapes through which wine flows).

Q: ... are you saying that Commandaria contains those special properties known to the Knights Templar?..

A: No, I’m not, but the premium version of the sweet Cypriot wine, Commandaria (from Mavro {red} and Xynistery {white} grape varieties) may be an ‘impotent’ or ineffective substitute for the original "special" Templar wine that was grown in a vineyard in Paphos that was called "Engaddi" (after the name in Solomon’s Song of Songs 1:14).



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