I can not believe how time is flying! Christmas will be here before we know it! Until then, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
We harvested our first Montepulciano (a red Italian grape) by hand. From 5 acres we harvested a bit over 2 tons. These 5 acres were planted in 2009 and are second leaf. Last year was difficult for grapes. We had two periods of unusually warm weather, early in the year, which caused the grapes to bud. These periods were followed by freezes which killed the buds. As a result, we were not expecting to have a harvest on the second leaf. Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised.
To harvest a small yield by machine is not cost efficient so, it is normally done by hand. That is, unless you own the harvester! So, we began, equipped with clippers and 5 gallon buckets. Each person harvesting worked on one side of one row. Thus we proceeded to work through the vineyard from south to north. The direction is not important. I just thought I would throw it in so you would know. And, now you do!
While we harvested, we naturally ate. Everyone was involved. In the eating of course, but also the work. Our youngest sons supplied empty buckets as we filled them.
Not to be outdone by his younger brother:
Others took turns driving the tractor down the rows.
The tractor pulled a trailer which carried bins. Each bin holds about 800 lbs of grapes. The 5 gallon buckets were emptied into the bins. Once filled the bins were put on a truck to be shipped to the winery. Don't worry - we took her out before loading and shipping!
It was definitely a family affair. Even Buttercup loves harvest. Grapes are her favorite!
Next week we should begin machine harvesting the remainder of the vineyard.