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September 22, 2007

Cabernet Franc Harvest

As with all harvests, this year's Cab Franc harvest actually began the night before, setting out lugs, cleaning equipment etc. We awoke very early this morning and were out in the vineyard before sunup, distributing lugs in the rows. I then ran up to Frederick, MD to pick up a rental van, which we decided to rent to keep the fruit air conditioned on the long ride over to Fabbioli Cellars where we are processing the fruit. This turned out to be a huge help!

Quentin and the guys were onsite a little before 8 and we jumped right into picking. Quentin drove the lawn tractor with the cart on the rear back and forth to the van and pickup truck while the rest of his crew picked. As soon as the van was full I took a load over to Doug's place, and then Shannon prepared a load to bring over in the pickup truck. All the while the crew kept picking and moving fruit down to the loading zone. No time for lunch, I think I had a couple of pop tarts and a gatorade in the truck.

Over at Doug's, they were busy processing his Cab Franc so we set our fruit in the shade and covered it up to keep it cool and free from bees. Yeah right, like anything could keep the bees away from all that sugar! I went back to our place for another load, and passed Shannon on the way. When I pulled into the vineyard the guys were almost done picking, so we finished up the harvest and loaded the rest of the fruit into the van for the drive back over to Doug's.

Once back at Doug's, we began crushing our fruit. There was a big team in place - Dennis (Doug's brother-in-law) was loading the crusher/destemmer, Colleen (Doug's wife) was leading the sorting team. We also brought some of our friends/family to pitch in. Memom, Steve, Geno, Shannon and I were also working moving fruit lugs, sorting, loading the crusher, basically everybody doing everything. Several other members of Doug's team were also helping to sort fruit and move fermenting bins. Harvest and crush is such an awesome experience, and is an amazing way to bring people together through a common passion for quality wines and enjoyment of a long hard day's work.

The afternoon went really well, and by the end of the day we had crushed and processed over 3 tons of Cabernet Franc grapes. It was an absolutely incredible feeling to look upon all that hard work safely in the bins - our firsts commercial red harvest!

Enjoy the pics

Posted by Stephen at September 22, 2007 7:36 PM