It’s time. The time all vineyards have been working for since pruning prior to bud break in the spring. Through the worries of late spring freezes, spring storms that bring damaging to devastating losses to some vineyards due to hail, to torrential rains that prevent spraying. Even birds and critters compete for the grapes. Now’s the time nonetheless. It all boils down to harvest time.
Wineries have been busy getting ready for receiving this year’s harvest. Prior year’s wines are being bottled to make room for this year’s crops. Equipment that has been hibernating since last fall is being cleaned and fine-tuned. Now it’s come down to walking the rows of wine grapes almost daily checking their ripening progress.
Some vineyards have already begun harvesting their tender white varietals while some varietals will only give them about a 24-48 hour warning window of when they’ll be ready. The late spring rains into the hot dry summer has heightened the ripening progress.
If you want to take your wine enjoyment to the next level, I highly recommend being involved in volunteer opportunities at your local or favorite wineries. Harvest is a good one for which to get involved. There are any number of ways to find out when vineyards are harvesting: email lists, Facebook, or word of mouth.
Not sure if it’s for you? Here’s some of what you can expect. Arrive early in the morning to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Wear comfortable clothes. Apply bug spray and sunblock. Wear a hat. Meet new friends. Sometimes a snack and if you’re lucky sometimes a meal. Many times you are “paid” with a bottle of wine. More importantly, you gain a new appreciation for what goes into the bottle of your favorite wine!
Check with your local winery to see when they are harvesting and get out there and pick some grapes!!!