The decision has been made and is unanimous – we love harvesting in the daylight!
Yes, nighttime harvests are beautiful with stars twinkling overhead and the invigorating cool night air. Last year, our first Roussanne harvest of the year was a nighttime harvest and it was beautiful!
But, less stress comes with the daytime grape harvests! You can see what you are harvesting, how clean the fruit is and how thoroughly you are cleaning the vines. While the Pellenc grape harvester does have lights, flashlights must be used behind the harvester to see how clean the vines are being picked – it is just more difficult!
So, unless a winery really, really, really wants their grapes harvested at night, it is the daylight hours for us!
There are several legitimate reasons for harvesting at night. It is more convenient for the wineries when the grapes arrive in the morning so they have all day to crush, press and process them. Also, harvesting in the night insures that the grapes are at the coolest possible temperature before they begin their journey to the winery. As the grapes sit during transportation, even in a refrigerated truck, they heat up which encourages fermentation to begin. Being uncontrolled, wild yeasts begin fermentation making the winemakers job more difficult. We normally harvest an acre of grapes in 1 hour but with travel time (most of our grapes go to wineries in east Texas) the temperature rise can be a problem.
So far, the wineries agree that clean fruit with less MOG makes better wine and they are willing to harvest in the day.
We have been continuing Roussanne grape harvest this week with grapes going to Crystoval, Arché, Perissos, Eden Hill, Calais, and Bar Z wineries. It is always exciting to see the harvester dumping the grapes into the bins at it is emptied.
Usually the grapes are transported in a refrigerated truck so before loading, we weigh the bins of grapes. Once weighed, they are loaded into the truck. We are using our grape consultant’s tractor with forks on the front. If the bins weigh over 1500 lbs the tractor needs a little help in lifting it up!
I hope you can feel the excitement as we see the fruits of our labor! 🙂