Monday, October 4, 2010

Almost Done With Harvest!

We've been harvesting almost every day the past few weeks, right alongside all the other wineries in our area. In fact, last week we couldn't even get a crew from our own vineyard management company and had to call around to see if any other companies had free crews. All this even though we pay a monthly fee just to ensure that we can get help when needed. (Sigh.)
Picking with our regular crew.

We're on the low end of the totem pole with the management company because we do most of our own vineyard work and only use them for the big jobs (pruning, harvest, etc.) We also don't have vast acreage or a famous winemaker (although ours is better!). :) Normally we pick early enough that it doesn't matter. This year our whites seemed to fall smack dab in the middle of the fray.

In order to get our small lot of Sauvignon Blanc off the vine toward the end of last week my father had to call around to his connections to see if there were any other crews free for a morning. We found a crew out of Sonoma County that we had used before. So, the day of the pick we went out shortly after six a.m. and waited for everyone to arrive, per usual. And we waited, and waited, and waited. We started stripping leaves off the shady side of the vine to occupy ourselves and clean things up. My father fielded a phone call saying they'd be late. So we waited. And waited. And stripped leaves. And they never showed. Once it reached 11 a.m. it was too warm to bring fruit in regardless, so we finished pulling leaves and left to go pick up bins and do the rest of our harvest chores. About 12:30 p.m. they finally called and said they were on their way from Ukiah. Obviously, they were told to just forget it.

So, the next day the crew showed up for their second try at our vineyard. They seemed a bit confused, and I speak some Spanish, but all the questions I asked were just received with blank stares. I assumed that I wasn't making sense, so one of tractor drivers from our regular crew (begged from the management company for the day) helped sort them out. Then they started picking. And they were slow. REALLY slow.  Terribly slow. Well, maybe they were just tired, we thought, and continued along until it was time to call it a day due to heat. We didn't understand until the end of the day that this crew wasn't from Sonoma County, or Mendocino, or even Napa. They were called up for harvest from Fresno! They had spent the night in a pear barn in Ukiah before coming over to pick grapes for us (poor guys).

This crew from Fresno had never picked grapes before! It explained a whole lot about the day when we discovered that little tidbit. But, such is life, and we got our regular guys back the next day and have been merrily picking our way toward the end of the vineyard.

After this morning we just have Semillon left (a night pick on Tuesday), and we'll crush it here and be done with harvest. Woohoo!

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