We start by “snipping” entire clusters of grapes off the vines. We snip toward the top and take off whole clusters, often holding more than a 100 grapes on them, and put them in 5-gallon buckets as we work up and down the rows all morning. It is not uncommon for a team of a dozen or more to work for 5 or 6 hours just to clear one field of the harvest.
Throughout the morning we empty our 5-gallon buckets into big plastic boxes loaded on the back of a trailer. The tractor pulls it ahead of us in the rows and waits for us to fill these boxes to the top. We fill them as high as we can and spread the clusters around making sure to use every bit of space we have in the boxes. Once we get 8-10 of these boxes full, the truck takes them over to the winery where the rest of team is waiting patiently for us. For this particular harvest, we loaded up the truck twice with over 16 total boxes of white Seyval Blanc grapes!
When we get to the winery, we begin the process of weighing the grapes. This is important for a variety of reasons – all mostly scientific stuff about yields, etcetera. But the team scurries around weighing each box one by one until they are all weighed, measured, and their information recorded for later use.