Monday, September 26, 2011

A new kind of tire

One of the more recent developments in agriculture . . . that sounds like a really impressive statement made by someone in the know--please don't be fooled . . . are plastic tires. Nathan spends a fair amount of time patching and replacing rubber tires out here. These plastic puppies, though more expensive up front, should fair far better on our circle sprinklers.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grape harvest

Last week we got to watch the grape harvest finale for our neighbors. Many thanks to Clint and Alexis Bingham for making this possible.

Harvest started about 9pm after the vines had been tucked into bed. Grapes are often harvested at night for premium sugar and ph levels. Something about how the vines rest after photosynthesizing all day.

This doozy is the harvester. Please excuse the photos. It was pitch black save for the starry sky and this was the best my iphone could muster.

The harvester's innards. It is a truly fascinating piece of equipment. You'll notice Nathan standing near the backside of the harvester, giving an idea of just how large it is.

The harvester straddled each row of vines and shook the grapes into what looks like large white teeth. Those teeth are actually bins which conveyer-belted the grapes to a holding tank.

The view atop the harvester. It was really something to behold.

Once the holding bin was full, the harvester dumped the grapes into transport bins with a little encouragement from Tyler, who was operating the harvester, and Clint, who orchestrated the evening's festivities.

The gorgeous-but-bewildered grapes wondering what just happened to them.

Wineries often provide the transport bins to grape growers for harvesting. This load was headed to Becker down in the Hill Country.

The fully-loaded bins were then transported back to the barn where each container's weight was carefully noted by the always-beautiful-and-gracious Alexis. Oh that we could all look that cute so late at night.

Containers were then stacked and loaded for transport to the winery immediately following harvest. The quicker you crush the grapes, the better the quality of juice. The better the quality of juice, the more impressive the wine. Because of this, grape growers and wineries both will frequently go to great lengths to ensure speedy logistics.

Lovely cab sav grapes.

This particular night was apparently a low-key affair given that only three acres of grapes remained to be harvested. Rumor has it that these all-nighters can be quite a party with a village of folks operating at break-neck speeds.

After this sneak peak, we are really excited for next fall's harvest at BSV.