Wednesday, October 7th, marked the first Aglianico grape harvest of 2014. We finished harvesting the Roussanne grapes about a month ago, before the rain began. Because of the rain, cooler weather and cloudy days, the Aglianico and Montepulciano grapes have been slow to ripen.
But, the wait is finally over and harvest time is here!
In an effort to make grape harvest more efficient, we have been looking for a flat bed truck on which to carry the grape bins to and from the vineyard. We did not have many requirements as we looked for a truck except that it had to be a good deal - the flat bed needed to be able to carry 16 grape bins (that means the truck had to be able to carry 12 tons!), have not too many miles on it and be reasonably priced. The Lord provided a great deal from a local fella and we are now the proud owners of a big truck!
Bins are placed on the flatbed and the Pellenc grape harvester is emptied right into the bins while they are on the truck. The truck is then driven to the barn where they are lifted off the flatbed, weighed and loaded into the waiting truck - in this case, an 18 wheeler.
We have also been looking to buy a fork lift which could handle the grape bins. Each bin can hold between 1500 - 2000 lbs - that is a lot of weight! So far, we have not found a good deal so, for the Aglianico grape harvest, we rented a tele-handler which is a fork lift on a telescoping boom. It is definitely more than we need but worked well - no grape bins were dropped!
With the tele-handler, we were able to double stack the bins, weighing and loading two at a time. This is a big time saver since the processing of the bins seems to always be the slow part of harvest.
We are harvesting again this morning - about 20 - 24 tons which are going to Duchman Family Winery. The last of our Aglianico grapes will be harvested next Wednesday. Then, the only grapes that will be left are the Montepulciano!
No matter how many times I see them, the grapes always look beautiful whether they are on the vines or coming out of the harvester!