Finally we hit the first day of harvest. A light day by their standards as first macro bins of what would end up being 5 tons of fruit arrived at 8am. The bins are immediately weighed and then it is onto the sorting table area where they are dumped and slowly work their way to the sorting table where stems, bad looking grapes, leaves and more are removed. The grapes leave the table and go up an incline conveyor to the destemmer where the stems are removed and they drop into an awaiting 1,500 gallon fermentation tank. The tank is chilled to 28 degrees to keep the fruit fresh and from beginning fermenting on their own. The tank was brought into the tank room and will stay chilled for 4 days while the grapes undergo a cold soak to extract more color and flavor. On the 4th day the tank will be inoculated with yeast and fermentation will start.
After a few conveyor belt issues we got the fruit sorted and in the tank by 2pm then the 2 hour cleanup of the area began. Phew, what a day. Unfortunately with the cool summer California has had the grapes are slow in ripening. As a result it will probably be mid next week before the next load comes in. So that means another weekend to relax and catch some sights and catch the Husker Game! Go Big Red!