I wanted to take some time this week to talk about the end of Harvest. We just held our annual end of harvest party for the winery crew, the vineyard crew and all their families. This is a great event meant to celebrate the end of a journey. Not just the journey of bringing grapes into the winery and turning them into wine, but the year-long process that goes into producing the winegrapes.
I mentioned that the vineyard crew was in attendance, and the process starts there. The production of winegrapes is a cyclical one. It started last winter with the pruning of the vines (we’ll get into that in future posts) and continued over the year until we reach the period that we call crush. Crush is the culmination of all the hard work that has been put in throughout the year, and we take time to celebrate it with our colleagues and their families.
The main reason this period is so intense is because the grape harvest comes once a year in California and the fruit on the vines is highly perishable. We bring our grapes in at the optimal ripeness; this usually means that a vast majority of the fruit arrives in a short period of time. That means everyone has to put in a lot of hard work and long days. This harvest was especially compressed, as cooler weather meant that all varieties were late to ripen, and then October rains meant that we couldn’t stretch harvest out any longer into the fall. So we worked fast and furiously until all the grapes were safely in the winery. The harvest couldn’t have succeeded without the incredible devotion, energy and can-do spirit of everyone involved.
The end of harvest party is an important event. It’s meant to celebrate the end of a safe and successful harvest, and recognizes the sacrifices that everyone involved in the process — including our families — has made. Family is extremely important to us, and we know that the crews who come out and put in 10, 12, or 14-hour days of work in the vineyard or the winery could not possibly do so without a strong support system. So we gather together, celebrate our achievement and hopefully reflect on the current and past harvests.