Our Roussanne grape harvest is almost over and we beat the bunch rot this year! Praise the Lord! Yeah - happy dance time! I hope you can feel my excitement because it is an unbelievable sense of relief to have all but one acre of Roussanne harvested. Plus, we had clean fruit in the midst of bunch rot! We have been battling bunch rot in the vineyard since the rain and cool weather hit us. It was very reminiscent of last year when we lost the battle, harvested and dumped our whole Roussanne crop because of it. You can see how devastating bunch rot can be in Roussane Grapes and Bunch Rot. This year, we harvested a bit sooner than normal - our Brix (the percent of sugar in the grapes) were around 23 - 24 instead of 25 but the fruit was clean! You can see below the harvester unloading its bins into our dump cart. It was new to us last year and has proved to speed up harvest quite a bit. We sold our big truck that we had used in previous years just a couple of months ago. If you are interested to see how we harvested with it, see Grape Harvest is Finished Once the harvester was unloaded, the dump cart is pulled back to the barn. This is where the grape bins from the winery were waiting to be filled. The dump cart is raised to the level of the bins. Once it is lined up, the driver dumps it, driving forward sloooowwwly to fill the bins as he goes. If you remember, we caught a swarm of bees a couple of weeks ago. The boys moved them in the early morning hours the day of harvest to the back of the barn. Since they still felt that the barn area was their home, they were very territorial.
First the tractor driver put on a bee veil for protection. The rest of us were swatting, stomping and being stung! Before I knew it, others were suiting up! While their faces and necks were protected, their legs still got stung. Not the most pleasant harvest ever! Finally, after the bins were filled, John loaded them into the waiting reefer (a refrigerated truck). Once loading was finished, I followed the trucker to the local gin. We have begun to weigh the truck before and after harvest. This gives us the actual weight of the grapes sent and is much faster than weighing each bin individually! I love looking at the grapes in the bin. It is just always so amazing to me the quantity of them! The last acre should be harvested this week. It will still be at least two weeks before we begin harvesting the reds but they are getting ripe and taste good!