A Stressful Harvest and the Winter to Come

Harvest was just about as crazy as I thought it would be. If you don’t remember or didn’t read my last article let me remind you guys why harvest was supposed to be so insane. First – 100 new acres came into production this year, bringing us up to 303 acres. Second – we were for the first time going to be harvesting with two harvesters. Grapes were going to be coming into the crush pad twice as fast as normal. Now, I know that sounds like this would make things easier. “Oh hey with two harvesters you guys can go twice as fast! You’ll be done so soon! It’ll be easy!” NO!!!!!!!!! As the guy who unloads all that fruit, weights it, tags it, and keeps track of everything that comes in and where it’s going – I was stressed.  I was so worried I googled to see if caffeine could actually make you faster. (Turns out not) Never the less, harvest was coming and I was freaking out trying to think of ways to increase efficiency. That’s what finally came in handy.

By changing some receiving tactics and a couple other things that saved a little bit of time here and there we were able to better handle the up take in fruit. If I got too bogged down there was usually someone to come bail me out. So, all the time I spent worrying and rigging an IV of coffee into my arm was a bit over kill. Now while we were able to handle it, harvest is still harvest. We got up as early as 10pm (yes, I did mean pm). While that schedule only lasted for a couple of weeks with the Pinot Noir harvest, the rest was mostly early mornings and really weird bedtimes. But with all the early mornings, late nights, spilled fruit, broken equipment and one very strange dream featuring me riding the harvester into the Battle of Five Armies (Lord of the Rings joke) we got through it. In the end, it came down to a team that continues to knock harvest out of the park and I’m grateful to work with everyone that I do.

Now that harvest is over you might be thinking, “What the heck do these guys do once all the grapes are picked?”  Go to the beach, sleep in, or host a late night game show where contestants battle to win fabulous prizes!?!  Well the answer is starting the process all over. The winery crew is hard at work turning juice into fine wine.  The vineyard crew is getting everything they can do before they all start pruning the vines all winter.  The shop crew is fixing what has been neglected during harvest. There is always a lot to do at the vineyard. Plus, we can’t forget about Birdseye!

I am very happy to say that thanks to a little bit of rain (that hurricane that hit Oregon) and a whole lot of grass seed, Birdseye has turned from a great dust bowl of a desert into a beautiful green field. It really looks spectacular right now. Also in just three short months we are going to start planting the new crop!!! I really need to bring my excitement level down. I’m going to get a heart condition at this rate. But hey? Don’t they say red wine is good for the heart…? They should cancel out.


Caffeinated task master

Clayton Wallace

1 Comment
  • Bill Larimore
    Posted at 18:34h, 21 November Reply

    Great job young man, and am looking forward to seeing what Birdseye looks like. Maybe in the spring we can get directions and stop by. Keep up the good work.
    We love Del Rio and its people

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