I have not been blogging much lately but that doesn’t mean I am dead (yet). Just busy with things that intrude on gardening. Like picking grapes in exchange for food and booze. Today was our second season of wine grape harvesting at Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, Massachusetts. This year we we picked late, but it turned out to be a beautiful Fall New England day with temperatures in the 60s and deep blue skies. We were tasked to harvest the Cabernet Franc grapes. Because of the cold nights we had, the leaves were mostly dead so picking was much easier than last year. And no bunch rot to deal with.
Below is the row we had to pick, which was loaded with grapes and seemed to run off into the sunset.
The Cabernet Franc clusters were fat and ripe. It was easy to quickly fill one of the yellow plastic lugs, but it took a bit more time to tease out the clusters that were wrapped up in the support wires and vines so we could maximize the yield for our host and fellow Boltonian, Rich Pelletier.
So two hours later, here we are behind a skid containing 28 lugs of luscious Cabernet Franc grapes, sticky but un-stung (by hungry bees) and ready for lunch! I’m the strange looking dude on the left, accompanied by some of my fellow Bolton Community Garden compatriots, Lynn Dischler and Rachelle Ayotte (and Rachelle is responsible for some of these photos). We harvested an estimated 4 tons of grapes and my back can attest to that!
Finally it is party time in the pavilion, with a chicken barbeque luncheon and apple crisp for dessert, along with unlimited pours of last years Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay!
Lunch was followed by a personal tour of the winery led by the owner, Rich Pelletier. It was fascinating to see how the grapes we picked would be processed into fine table wines. We each received a gift card that will allow us to buy a bottle of the wine we helped harvest in a year or two, but I really did not need that to feel good about helping a local farm winery prosper. Walking back to the car, I smiled while I watched swarms of people on a beautiful fall afternoon heading to the winery to taste wines I might have had a hand in harvesting.