Harvest at Domaine de Manion was September 8, 2012. We had a generous bounty of 600 pounds of estate syrah grapes, an army of enthusiastic friends and family, and a harvest lunch to rival any three-star country chef. The weather was warm, but not the record-breaking heat experienced the follow Saturday close to 100 degrees. Grapes were picked at 26 brix (sugar percentage) and should yield about 35 gallons of wine which equates to about 15 cases of bottled wine.
We had our ritual “blessing of the harvest” and continued gratitude to all who were able to participate and share with us this day. All of our “fruits of labor” from this past year culminating on this special day. This was our fifth harvest. Our harvest is always an event, with cherished family and friends. It transcends generations, and always brings a universal smile to all. Our families who live out of town, migrate annually to join us, and make this an extra special occasion.
Vineyard nets were removed from the rows of vines and rolled up for next year. Eager harvesters started down the vineyard rows in teams, filling orange lugs with ripe grape clusters. Filled lugs yield 40 pounds of grapes each, giving us our poundage count. Lugs were carried to a sorting table, to sort any grapes that might not make the cut.
Grapes destined for wine, were sent through an augured crusher/de-stemmer machine. Next step in the process, food-grade plastic barrels were filled with slightly crushed grapes and dry ice. Dry ice allows the grapes to sit on their skins and cold soak. A day later, yeast will be added and fermentation is kicked off. Another vintage is underway, with many more steps in the process, and time to age in the oak barrels.
Two hours later, and with everyone’s help our harvest is in. Everyone is hungry for a well-deserved harvest lunch, served with award-winning Domaine de Manion vintages. It is now time to relax and reflect on the day. We had smoke ribs–brined for two days, paella cooked on the grill, assorted cheeses, fresh fig appetizer, tomato tart, garden salads, fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries and many more sinful desserts.
One has to reflect on all the fun, happiness, and joy surrounding this day. It reminds me of the quote, “Uncork the wine, enjoy the dance, and let the Gods decide the rest.!” –Horace
Please share if you have ever experienced a grape harvest. Please share if you visit wine country at harvest time.