Vineyard, Wineries

The Sun Rises on the Grape Harvesting Machine

It is harvest time here in the vineyard. A busy time for all of the staff and temporary staff that are brought in to help. When I am finishing my walk in the morning, they are heading out to one of the plots to start the handpicking of the grapes. Most of the grapes are handpicked here but not all.

The winery also sells grapes and the juice of grapes to other wineries. For some of those clients, they bring in the incredible grape picking machine. Thursday at o’dark thirty, we heard a tractor with a trailer go through the small square. It was 4:50am so I knew what was coming next. I got up and looked out the bedroom window…then I heard it…and then I could see the seemingly alien lights between the buildings.

Although wanting to go out and watch it work…4:50am is a bit early and very dark so I went back to bed. It took me a while to get back to sleep because my mind was busy wondering where the machine might be working. I know…I’m weird.

When I got up for my walk at 7am and walked up the lane from our house I could hear the machine in the distance. Yippee! There it is! Nice and close so I didn’t have to go searching for it.

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A quick walk and there I was with a front-row seat. Well, front-row stand. I guess you can figure out that I didn’t have a very long walk that morning. I was more than happy to just stand in the mud and watch the machine work.

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This trailer is actually from another winery, so when it was full it headed down the road with its load of grapes.

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I think this would make a nice advertisement for the companies that make the machines and the companies that rent them. They use these machines at night or dawn, so the sun rising behind it is perfect.

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There isn’t anywhere close to the precision of using the machine to pick the grapes compared to being hand-picked. It can’t select the best bunches of grapes.

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And it will also miss some bunches.

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A rebel!

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The photo below is a bunch in a row that hasn’t been touched yet. I just liked the sun shining on it.

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The one left behind. (insert sad face)

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Empty bins ready to be filled with the hand-picked grapes.

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Weighing the grapes.

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To me, this speaks of the old and the new. The old (or perhaps just old-looking) tiles and the new machinery.

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The juice from these grapes will be sold to another winery.

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Stems and leaves shoot into the back of this truck after the grapes are pressed. This will then become compost as part of the biodiversity of the property.

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Tried some super slow-mo video with this.

You can read these additional posts about my (shall we call it a mild obsession) with these grape harvest machines.

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5 thoughts on “The Sun Rises on the Grape Harvesting Machine”

  1. Absolutely fascinating!! An area I live in while in Oregon used to have onions and now has grapes–Acres of grapes everywhere, I’ve never thought about their harvest! I’m generally not out and about that early. I just notice one day the fruit is there, in a few weeks, they aren’t!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love watching the hand-picking but the machine fascinates me. For the machine, the plot of vines that it harvests has to be grown and maintained a certain way so that the machine can easily travel up and down the rows.
      Yesterday, I did another tour of the winery here and I learned that the machine can only be used on the grapes that are at the perfect ripeness since it can’t pick and choose like humans do what should be picked.

      Liked by 1 person

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