Well, the 2007 wine grape harvest is on in earnest – at least a month earlier than last year. As I write, the guys are out there pulling the fruit off the vines.
Most of the harvesting is done at night away from the hotter parts of the day. Apparently it results in better fruit. There are two harvesters running, well there’s suppose to be two – one just blew a hydraulic hose and pumped a vat full of oil… they guys are n ow wonering what to do…
The harvester is an amazing machine – narrow enough to fit between the vines and strangely quite agile. The vines go between wheels – right up the middle. There are two walls of plastic pipes on either side which vibrate very powerfully. This shakes the fruit off the vines which lands on a conveyor belt and then is pumped out over the top in hose into a vat pulled by a tractor. It’s rather a ballet when you see it – the harvesters are really experienced with the whole operation and it really does flow rather elegantly. In fact I know one of the tractor drivers – he reads a book while he’s doing the whole thing – that’s how fluid the operation is. Amazing.
Each vat has about 2.5 tonnes of fruit and by-catch in it – and there’s a lot of vats! The juice is extremely sweet – too sweet to drink straight – and I think I mentioned that the variety is Pinot Gris