I posted last week on Facebook that John and the boys were in California looking at a harvester - a Pellenc 4560 grape harvester.
Well, not only did they look at it, but also bought it! Then the question was whether or not it could be shipped here to West Texas in time for our first harvest.
The question is now answered! It is here and in time for our first harvest! Our anxieties were alleviated, our expectations and excitement were realized, as we saw the trucker coming down the road hauling our "new" Pellenc 4560 grape harvester! Please notice, we got the "Smart" Pellenc :)
There is one custom harvester who comes to our area for a specific length of time to harvest grapes before moving to another area - he even harvests olives in other areas. But, he has already left our area this year and for those of us who have late ripening varieties, he is not an option. So, in years past, we have rented a harvester from another grape growing friend who lives close by. This year, however, his harvester broke. It showed everyone here on the high plains how dependent we all are on so few harvesters. After much discussion, we decided to put the money we would normally use for renting the harvester toward the purchase of one!
We have been talking with a Pellenc representative for quite awhile about used harvesters that he knew were for sale. In fact, our oldest son has kept in close contact with him and was notified of good machines as they became available. Every time it looked as though we had a buyer for our house in Alabama, we would talk more seriously with him. Then, when the house did not sell, we would wait. We have had such a good experience with the Pellenc AP25 which we have been using this year to tie the vine arms onto to the cordon wire and the harvester seemed to be equally well designed as a multi-function machine.
As you can see, it was transported well secured.
The most nerve racking part of the unloading was driving it off the trailer.
As a multi-function machine, we also purchased a prepruner which will be used in the winter. The vines will be pruned first with the Pellenc and then we will come back and hand prune to the exact number of buds to be left. This helps rid the vine row of all the dead wood and makes our job easier.
The last accessory that we purchased is the counter weight which is used in conjunction with the prepruner.
Although it looks like we will not start harvesting our Roussanne until mid September, we have already been contracted by other vineyards and will get to put the Pellenc into action early Saturday morning!