We started the 2009 grape harvest on Saturday. The seyval were ready to go, and so were we. About 20 people came out to help, ranging in age from 7 months to 80 years old. And they all seemed to be enjoying themselves!
Dave had underestimated the amount of fruit we would be harvesting, and was worried we had too many people. But it worked out perfectly, as the crop was bigger than we planned, but so was the crew. We finished up right on schedule. And the fruit looked great! It was by far the best quality crop we have ever had. The grapes tasted so sweet and good. People were eating them right off the vine- something I encourage. You can't get anything fresher than that!
Our helpers also seemed to really hit it off with each other, and I overheard some pretty interesting conversations. We had a real variety of ages and backgrounds, but everyone seemed to enjoy the chance to be outside, working on a common goal, something tangibly fun- wine! Quite a few people were from Wichita, but we also had several from other surrounding communities.
And Jeff is back! He was such a help last year, that when we got the chance to hire him again we jumped at it. He also got a promotion from vineyard boy to director of marketing. I think it's a solid move for him and for the winery.
I hope the weeks ahead are as much a success as this was. Pray for good weather and protection from critters. We do have nets and a propane cannon (very loud) to keep the birds scared off, which helps a lot, but isn't perfect. They still get some fruit. Probably the deer and possums get a little as well.
If you know of anyone who wants to help in the weeks to come (most every Saturday from now until mid-September) have them send us an email! (firstname.lastname@example.org). And I'm having internet issues, so if you want to see the photos, check facebook.