One of the essential pieces of winery gear is the picking bin. The industry standard here on the West Coast of the United States is the Macro 24-A-S, which holds about 1,000 pounds (a half-ton) of fruit, is very durable and stacks nicely. Stacking empty bins is the adult version of playing with LEGOs. We’ve been known to build all kinds of shapes with them in our parking lot—including pyramids, stair steps, fortlike edifices. Right now they’re in a gigantic Borg cube design.
All wineries mark their bins, either with the company logo, company name or (when you’re stressed for time) the company initials written hastily with a permanent marker. As harvest madness unfolds, bins often get shuffled around from winery to winery. This happens if, for example, we need some bins to get to Keefer Ranch vineyard in Russian River, and we can’t get there ourselves, or get a trucking company to deliver them for us in time. If that happens, we might call Uncle Sid at Siduri and ask if he can run some of his bins out there for us to use, since he’s only a few minutes away from the vineyard. When those bins get down to our winery, we might then run them out to Cargasacchi vineyard for a Siduri pick. Other times, a winery may borrow some of our bins sitting at a vineyard if their pick happens before ours. That happened this year at Keefer Ranch: Kosta Browne used Loring bins for a pick and returned them before our next pick happened.
Swapping and sharing bins often saves a lot of hassle and money. And it’s fun! At one point last year I think we had bins from Siduri, Garys’, Roar, Pisoni, Clos Pepe and Rancho Ontiveros in our stack. It’s always cool to look at a who’s who of California Pinot Noir emblazoned on the bins in our parking-lot sculpture.
I often wonder if we should coordinate our bin sharing in a more proactive way, rather than just reacting to situations. I can’t tell you how many empty bins pass each other on Highway 101, heading north or south from Sonoma to Santa Barbara. Seems like a waste of money and diesel. I’m not sure how to do it, but maybe I can convince all my Pinot Pals to play along (and then get one of them to volunteer to coordinate everything). They might not see the benefit right away … but the bins in the parking lot keep telling me that resistance is futile.
Robert Fukushima — California — November 14, 2006 3:34pm ET
Charles J Stanton — Eugene, OR — November 14, 2006 5:41pm ET
Timothy Perr — November 14, 2006 6:41pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 14, 2006 8:26pm ET
Peter Cargasacchi — Sta. Rita Hills — November 14, 2006 9:42pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 14, 2006 11:39pm ET
G A Blake — Pasadena, CA — November 15, 2006 4:21pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 16, 2006 1:48am ET
Charles G Ross — Rochester,NY — November 16, 2006 11:27am ET
Michael Goldberg — Boca Raton, FL — November 17, 2006 2:37pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — November 17, 2006 4:17pm ET
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