Harvest is an exciting time of year full of anticipation and questions: How well did the fruit mature? Will there be enough rain to give the grapes that final boost? Will the grapes get to the right brix level before they start to wither?
Of course, once the questions are answered and it is time to harvest, the real work starts. This year I was lucky enough to get to spend a day help Vicki and Mark at North Gate Vineyards harvest and it was a great experience.
I am a big fan of harvesting by hand. While I had always known that this method takes a lot of work, I never really appreciated how much effort is really involved.
On this day we were harvesting the Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot is a tricky varietal, with a short window to harvest, so we attacked the vines with gusto.
Mark and Vicki assigned two people to a row, each pair would alternate sections going through and cutting the bunches and dropping them into the lugs. During the harvest process we would also remove raisined grapes (making things easier on the sorter later) and removing any of the second growth grapes.
I spent half the time on my knees getting under the vines and the other half on my feet getting bunches in the middle of the vine. Going up and down the rows moving like this is actually pretty strenuous, but it felt great at the end of the day.
So, when North Gate Vineyards releases its 2010 Petit Verdot, it will be great to know that I was part of it!