We are also about to launch on a vineyard adventure on our 25 acres in Maryland. i am curous to know where yours is. We have been making wine for 20+ years from a 1-acre vineyard parcel, and are about to expand over several more acres. In our 1-acre area, we used railraod ties sund at about a 60 degree angle to the ground, but will probably put something a little more professional in place withthe expansion. I am, however, curious and concerned about your trellis system bieng 7' off the ground (our top wires are at about 5.5'). 7' seems about a foot too high from what I've seen. But your VERY impressive research and grueling site visits have most likely demonstrated what works best. I will follow your progress with great interest.

But I would use an auger intead of a pounder---the University of Michigan publicatiions on vineyard establishment state that you can use the auger to sped up the planting process, although it does tend to compact the soil around the planting hole, which would hinder free root development.