Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath - Volume 2

This is really a piggy-back off my sister's post about our recent grape harvesting adventure.  (If you haven't read that - go read that first for the back story.)  I think it was my job to provide the pictures and I completely forgot to send them to her - oops.

Three hours was a really long time to harvest grapes.  I think what made it worse was that Tracy and I heard the man say lunch was at 11:30.  By 11:30 we were starving and very ready to be done. At the appointed time we dropped off our buckets and headed to the water area as did a few other people.  The difference was, while we stood around wondering where this pizza was going to be served so we could be first in line, other people started heading back into the vines to work some more.  Wha?!?  Turns out "11:30" was redefined as "12:30" and we still had another hour to go.  We managed a pretty slow walk back to the fields and they may not have gotten our best efforts on the last 60 minutes.

At 12:30 we heard a lunch bell - or what we presumed was a lunch bell.  I don't think either of us has ever stopped work so fast.  We started walking to find our food!  The pizza was from Montgomery, MN and was seriously awesome.  Tracy was one of the first in line and had taken just a couple pieces.  By my end of the line, people in front of me were grabbing at least eight pieces, so I did too.  Tracy had come back to ask me to get more for her: we. were. starving.  I think the guy had 16 pizzas and nothing was left.

We did get an overview of the orchard's schedule for the year and how different aspects of growing grapes works.  It was really interesting and the man in charge answered any and all questions we had.

He took us through the process of making the wine - in small batches.  He built the machine below.  It presses the removes the stems and other riff-raff of grapes and puts the juice into the bucket below.  The stems/skins are spit out the front of the tube.

The bucket of juices is moved to this little contraption where it is filtered -

then you are left with this: pure grape juice.

We did get to drink this and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste.  The smell?  It smelled like in dirt and fields.  Probably not the smell I'd want in my morning juice, but the taste was good.

After the presentation we were given our grape-stomping-picture-taking-moment.

Surprisingly this felt really good on your feet.  The grapes were soft and the stems were not scratchy at all.  But, as my sister mentioned, there was a line of people so you had only a few ticks of the clock to get your picture and move on.

With that, we wrapped up the day.  As Tracy said, we were told we harvested over 4,000 pounds of grapes in three hours.  When asked, the guy said it would make roughly 2,200 bottles of wine.  [Hiccup.]

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