Harvest begins in the vineyard. As we finish up our first year of ranch ownership, we also complete our first full season cultivating our vines from pruning to picking. Our harvest began late last night in our chardonnay block and will continue throughout the next couple of months. Warm weather contributed to an especially early harvest this year.
We began at 1 a.m. with a round of coffee, head lamps, and shears tucked in our spiffy new leather holsters. Picking at night ensures we deliver our grapes to the winemakers first thing in the morning before the blistering sun warms and cooks the grapes. Our crew of 13 motored through nearly 4 acres of chardonnay to fill 10 half-ton bins. The yield on our chardonnay vines was low this year, less money for us as we charge by the ton, but they’re sure to produce mighty fine wine. The grapes picked last night were delivered by our ranch manager and me to Sandhi Wines.
Though I’ll admit I’m hurting a little after last night’s marathon, and I likely won’t be on hand to personally pick each block we harvest this season, I have to say it was an awesome experience. Our seasoned crew, made up entirely of one extended family who has been working this ranch for over two decades, worked with all the grace of a synchronized swimming team. They were lively, efficient, and all too humble while I poked around and shoved my camera in their faces. After harvest we dined on a few dozen tamales homemade by the family’s matriarch, who shared with me that she has 7 children (three of whom work on our ranch) and 23 grandchildren. Quite a legacy. I was honored to work among them and look forward to many more seasons getting to know the Cervantes crew.
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