Aglianico is an Italian red variety which is one of the later grapes to ripen. In fact, except for one other grape grower here on the High Plains of West Texas, we are the last to harvest. Roussanne and Montepulciano were harvested several weeks ago and we have prayed and eagerly waited to get the rest out of the field!
With 7.4 acres of Aglianico and expecting about 70 tons, we harvested two reefers (refrigerated 18 wheelers) Monday night and another two on Tuesday night.
On Monday night we began around 10:00pm. By the time harvest was completed, the harvester washed and showers taken, it was 6:00am! Showers are very important during harvest – you can not imagine how sticky a person can become with all that grape juice! Not to mislead anyone, I went to bed around 4:30am – still a long night
When the first reefer arrived Monday night, it was loaded with 60 bins provided by the winery to fill with grapes. These were unloaded, each trailers filled with 8 bins and the remainder set to the side for later use.
Unlike the Montepulciano harvest when we used two trailers to haul the bins, this time with such heavy tonnage, we had three trailers each holding 8 bins going to and from the vineyard.
Once the Pellenc 4560 grape harvester unloaded its onboard bins filling the winery bins, the trailers were brought from the vineyard and the bins loaded into the reefer. The process was continued until all bins were filled and both trucks loaded.
Since we were getting more leaves than desired in the bins, as you can see in the above picture, Tuesday, before harvest, the Pellenc was tweaked to pick much cleaner fruit. That night, we began harvesting at 9:00pm and it seemed that everything went much faster – we were finished the actual harvest by 3:00am. I stayed awake for the whole thing!
I can not express my joy at having all those grapes off the vines and at the winery! The Aglianico is all contracted with Duchman Family Winery and is in the very capable hands of their winemaker, Dave Reily.