Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath

It’s one of the “classics” that I’ve always loved.  But, after this past weekend, the words have a whole new meaning to me.
Rewind a few weeks.  Groupon had a deal that sparked my interest.  For $49 (51% off, mind you!) we could go to a nearby vineyard and learn the whole process of wine-making.  We’d harvest grapes, stomp grapes (ala Lucille Ball), watch how grapes are now crushed, add yeast, etc.  We’d also have a pizza lunch (with wine) and get to take home two bottles of wine from last years harvest.  It sounded like a full, but fun day so I bought it.  Well, Rob started taking classes on Saturdays so he couldn’t go with me, but luckily my sister could!
After a 30 minute drive we arrived on location ready for some fun!  We were greeted, handed instructions (that we didn’t comprehend at all) and signed a waiver (that neither of us read one word of…I mean, how dangerous can wine-making be?).  Once the rest of the participants arrived (about 20 of us total) we headed into the vineyards to harvest some grapes.
We were given a very quick demonstration (it’s about what you think it would be…pick the grapes, but them in a bin) and then headed down the rows of vines to get to work.  Work involved sitting on a 5 gallon bucket.  One with a cushion duct taped on it if you were lucky.  You reached up into the vines, found a bunch of grapes and picked them off.  Some were easier than others to get off.  Some required a bit of a wrestling match.  For the first hour, it was interesting.  After 3 hours, not so much.
Yes, 3 hours!!!  For 3 hours we sat on buckets and harvested grapes.  The man behind this vineyard is a genius!  I paid him $50 so that my sister and I could come and do his work.  Furthermore, this is the first time he’d ever heard of Groupon and had anyone besides friends come and harvest his grapes, so “51% off” was a giant crock!  He’d never had anyone pay him so he just put down a price and called it a discount!
Once the harvest was done (and I will say that we were told the 20 of us harvested well over 4,000 pounds!), we had pizza and wine.  This is when the afternoon started to look up.  It could possibly have been the “hard labor-induced famine”, but that was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had.  And the wine….delicious!  And even the owner’s description of the wine-making process and his Q&A was interesting.  The grape stomping was fun, but lasted all of 30 seconds. 

At least we each got a bottle of the golden nectar to take home and it isn’t a day I will soon forget.  Maybe someday I’ll channel my inner Steinbeck and come up with a brilliant novel surrounding it….nah, I’ll just drink the wine.

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