Harvest season has officially started. Monday our team picked, sorted, stomped and pressed the bright and juicy Chardonnay grapes. Ever since Jared, Justin, and I tasted the fresh grape juice last week, I’ve been waiting anxiously for harvest to officially begin. Seriously, I would’ve gulped down a whole glass of the sugary but full-flavored stuff if there was not the threat of a terrible stomach ache to follow.
We met at the winery around noon, and discussed the game plan over fried chicken sandwiches from Bakesale Betty. Or rather, Jared and Tracey attempted to explain the plan over high-pitched yelps from Izzy, who was playing hide-and-seek behind the huge truckload of grapes. Soon our small but mighty group of workers got started. Though I missed some of the floor action while I was holed up in the lab, I did witness some brave efforts. First, there was Linda, with the eyes of a hawk, spotting and plucking numerous earwigs who loved hiding in the clusters. Then I experienced my first black widow encounter as Lisa risked her life (or at least the possibility of getting a very painful bite) by removing it from the sorting table. Also worthy of mention was Alex’s foot-stomping skills. He hopped in the huge barrel of green grapes not once but twice, despite the rather unpleasant feeling of perpetually sinking in cold, sticky juice. Meanwhile, I proudly donned the geeky lab goggles and was thrilled to realize that the painful Monday through Friday summer Chemistry class that I just completed was actually making lab work easier! I measured the pH and titratable acidity and based on the numbers and the vibrant taste of the Chardonnay grapes and juice, it looks to be another great year.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to be a part, however small, of Donkey and a Goat’s harvest this year. Jared and Tracey have taught me so much in the past year, and I can’t wait to learn from their former mentor, Eric Texier, in France. I owe them so much and can’t wait to hear how the rest of the harvest season unfolds!