Wine Grape Harvest. Description of a day spent harvesting grapes at a local home vineyard and winery, while learning about the hands-on wine making process.
A friend of a friend had friends in need of some help. Ron and Kathy’s small vineyard was ready for harvest in early October, about three weeks later than usual. As a result of the delay, a number of their usual helpers were not available.
A call went out to friends who were asked to bring friends, and there I was one recent Sunday morning on my way to Granite Bay.
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Wine Grape Harvest
Ron and Kathy have a lovely home situated on 2 ½ acres. Approximately ½ acre is planted in several varietals of grapes, a dozen rows in all.
When we arrived, a table had been set up with coffee and assorted breakfast goodies. A cooler full of water was nearby. My friend and I had a chance to meet and chat with Ron and Kathy as well as fellow volunteers while we were waiting to start. It was a very nice group of people.
Ron gave us a rundown of the harvest process. We started with the largest planting, four rows of Barbara. Gloves, clippers and buckets were provided, as well as an explanation of what to harvest and what grapes to discard.
Full buckets were carried to the end of the row and were soon picked up and hauled off to the back of the property where the production facility and winery is located.
I have to say that it was a perfect day to undertake the harvest. The weather was beautiful, with a light breeze, and most of the time the cloud cover kept us comfortable while we worked.
Wine Grape Harvest – Crushing & Destemming
After harvesting all of the Barbara, it was time for the next stage of the process. Volunteers loaded grapes into the crusher/destemmer, removed buckets full of crushed grapes from underneath the machinery, and emptied them into a large bin, among other chores.
During this process Ron explained the next steps he would undertake to finish the process. Ron has worked hard to learn the ins and outs of winemaking. He has utilized the expertise of both U.C. Davis and fellow members of the Sacramento Home Winemakers over the years.
Once the first batch was processed Ron and a helper hosed off the equipment in preparation of processing the next varietal. The vines had delivered a bumper crop, the largest to date according to Ron.
While the equipment was being cleaned, the rest of us were sampling some of the wines from previous years (Barbara, Tempranillo, Sarah, Cabernet Franc). Everything I sampled was tasty and pleasing to the palate – smooth, not harsh as some homemade wine can be.
After a delicious lunch of homemade chili, we returned to the vineyard to continue the harvest.
During the latter part of the day, women new to the harvesting experience were offered the opportunity to have a posed photo taken wearing a white peasant blouse and a colorful flowing skirt while stomping grapes (ala Lucy). Several young women took Ron and Kathy up on the offer.
My blog policy is to not include identifiable photos of people, just in case you were wondering about the composition of the photo below.
After the last varietal had been processed, while we sipped wine and chatted, the bottling process was described.
As we prepared to leave at the end of the day, Ron presented each of us with a bottle of wine as a thank you.
To Sum Up
To sum up, it had been a fun and interesting day. I was tired, but not overly so. A few days later I opened and enjoyed my bottle of 2017 Tempranillo. Thanks Ron and Kathy!
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