Our harvest is complete. Approximately 20 people gathered: family, friends, wine club members, past students (now coming with their families!). Harvest started at 7:30 Saturday morning and we were done by 12:30. It was definitely our lightest harvest ever-and the first time that this vineyard has experienced a fourth year of drought. Our son Erin loaded the 4 bins of grapes onto the trailer and hauled them up to River Run Vintners in Santa Cruz County where we make our wine. The grapes were crushed the day they were picked. I’ll share a harvest report in an upcoming posting.
This group of harvesters came together from different parts of California, most strangers to each other. Together we participated in and celebrated the harvest, paying attention to each vine. Our evening wine tasting in the vineyard was followed by a wonderful chicken barbecue done by Dave and Whitney, our neighbors. The chickens were actually raised by one of our neighbors, so it was a locavore’s delight—from the chicken to the wine.
I believe I heard the plants breathe a sigh of relief as they shed their fruit-making effort. The harvesters wore big smiles as they met new friends and together connected with the soil and plants. Most people camped in the vineyard and enjoyed the amazing star-emblazoned sky with the Milky Way taking on a cloud-like formation. Sunday morning folks talked about seeing shooting stars and hearing coyotes yelp. And one person added: “I could have sworn I heard a fox going through the vineyard saying, ‘where are my grapes?’”
Folks said their farewells to each other and to Condor’s Hope Sunday after brunch. These new acquaintances shared a special weekend of our community harvest. We appreciate their work and hope many will return. Steve and I began the post-harvest clean up. Monday morning we woke to a somewhat familiar, but almost forgotten sound: yes! It was the sound of raindrops on the roof. While only a light rain fell (0.16 inch), it signaled a change in seasons and a renewing of the earth. And once again, the plants (and we) breathed a sigh of relief… and hope.