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Friday, July 13, 2007

Harvest workshop, Les Bourgeois

I attended a workshop on harvest decisions and vineyard cover crops at Les Bourgeois vineyards (yes, that's their actual family name) hosted by the ICCVE yesterday afternoon. As usual, it was filled with more good information than I can keep straight. We spent some time discussing sampling techniques and harvest decisions, especially given the legacy of this year's freeze event. We also covered some viral diseases and other harvest decisions. I include a photo of their harvester, which looks like some strange mechanical insect. It shakes the trunk and shoots, rattling clusters loose, which are then caught by rotating rubber bins and hauled up to the hopper. It sounds violent, but evidently such machines treat grapes more gently than hand harvesting crews. Something about it spoils that romantic notion of hand picking. I remember the crews we saw harvesting family vineyards in Italy...comprised of everyone from grandma on down to the toddlers. But then anyone who has done it knows it's hot, scratchy, tiring labor.

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