Today was our first day to crush Chardonel. These grapes came from Charleville Vineyard in Coffman, MO. You see the press working above. All the juice is draining into the pan below. Then it’s down to the cellar to be made into Courtois, Chardonel, Harvest Mist or Whittenburg. MMM mmm mm!
Also, a quick thanks to Leonard (below with his wife) who has been driving the grapes over to us for years now. He’s afraid next year he won’t be able to do the driving. We will miss his mechanical knowledge, history, folklore, and good humor throughout numerous breakdowns.
Here are the Cayuga grapes from the weekend. Can you hear them saying “Make me wine, make me wine, make me wine!”?
Here’s Clyde unloading them off of the truck and then it’s up to the crush pad next to the salesroom. Our tractor will only tilt these bins so far, and then we have to get in there with a rake (or in this picture I’m using a modified potato picker) and scrape the grapes into the crusher. Although this isn’t terribly difficult, after 8 bins or so, the back of my shoulders start to ‘feel the burn’. Jeff and I switch off on this job while Clyde monitors the juice and equipment. Finally here is Jeff on the tractor after we have emptied a bin . Looks like he is having fun…..and his nose looks MUCH better. We can fit six bins in our press, so we had to load up our press twice to finish this load of grapes.
For those who are interested in timing…we began our day around 6:30am prepping equipment. We started actually dumping the grapes in the crusher around 8am and we were able to finish around 7 p.m. on Sunday. A HUGE thanks to Marilyn Startz for fixing us a wonderful meal that night…we needed it! And the music afterwards provided by Bill Startz was a great way to unwind after all the craziness ealier that day.
So for my more personal and in depth opinion on Sunday’s happenings, you can check out my personal blog Peacefulkt’s Pursuits. I’ll warn you here though that it ain’t pretty! Cheers.
Use your browser’s back button to come back after taking a closer look.
These big bins hold approximately 1 ton each, and we received about 12 tons of grapes Saturday evening. That’s a truckload! The middle pic is Clyde and Jeff taking the first straps off the truck in preparation of unloading the truck. In the last pic you see our friend Matthew talking to Mike (blue shirt) the truck driver, and Jim who is the nephew of the grape grower (and by the way, we do not claim any affiliation or condonement of the other beverage being advertised on Jim’s shirt 🙂 ).
Mike & Jim came by on Friday to pick up all these bins from us, then drove to Fulton to help pick all morning Saturday. It was a long day for them, so they both stayed the night. Matthew took his grapes and went home though. We had lots of adventures Saturday and Sunday, so stay tuned and I’ll post more pics tomorrow. For now, I need a nap. Three nights of not sleeping has caught up to me. Cheers!