Posted by Brian Loring
My sister Kimberly and I love to be at vineyards when our fruit is being picked. Many mornings start off foggy, and then give way to a beautiful sunrise. Since we don’t own any vineyards, being able to spend that time in the vineyard gives us the connection to the site that we don’t get the rest of the year. My only complaint is that I have to get up way too early in the morning.
Picking grapes is a difficult job. The workers have to bend over and often search for the fruit on the vine. Lifting the full, heavy totes can’t be good for anyone’s back. The mornings start off cold and then usually warm up quickly, which means the bugs start to wake up. And being covered in sticky, sweet grape juice makes you an inviting target. Add in a lot of dust and dirt, and you end up with one heck of a tough way to make a buck. We’re always so amazed at what a great job the picking crews do, and really appreciate all their hard work.
Kimberly took some photos and video during a recent pick at Graham Family Vineyard in the Green Valley subappellation of Sonoma's Russian River Valley. Kimberly had driven up the day before and dropped off some picking bins at Durell Vineyard, near the town of Sonoma, as well as bins at Graham. After spending the night in Sebastopol, she was back out at Graham by 6:30 a.m. for the pick. We ended up picking about 3.5 tons of Pinot Noir that day. She then got the privilege of driving the seven hours back to Lompoc. We spend a lot of time on the road during harvest, but we think the fruit we’re buying is worth it.
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