Amazingly, it is the middle of September and we are almost finished with harvest - both the Roussane and Montepulciano grapes are finished! Our second oldest son was married in El Paso on Saturday, so after a joyous weekend, we returned to prepare for the harvest of 5 acres of Montepulciano. We were very thankful to have out of state guests who had come for the wedding - including 2 of John's brothers, a sister and a sister-in-law. Expecting about 40 tons and ending up with 47 tons of Montepulciano, their help was invaluable!
Having purchased our own Pellenc 4560 grape harvester has certainly made harvesting easier! Starting at 2am on Tuesday morning, we filled a refrigerated 18 wheeler (reefer) in about 7 hours - that includes about an hour preparation and time after harvest to wash the harvester. Because the trucker was close to capacity, not wanting to overload him and using all the bins sent to us by the winery, we finished harvest on Wednesday morning.
Since the onboard bins of Pellenc hold 3 tons and many of our rows had more than that, we emptied the harvester into bins provided by the winery in the middle of rows, as well as, the ends of the rows. To do this, the trailers loaded with bins lined up behind the harvester and moved slowly forward (or backward) on cue, so that the harvester unloaded into the next empty bin.
The bins were carried to and from the vineyard on trailers. One trailer held 8 bins and the other 12 bins. It was quite a sight to see the bins filled with grapes!
Once the bins were filled, they were loaded into the reefer for transport. All of the Montepulciano grapes are sold to Duchman Family Winery.
Both mornings we witnessed gorgeous sunrises!
The last variety to be harvested is the Aglianico which is another Italian red. It will probably be ready to harvest within two weeks.