Our first machine harvest was done on the Roussanne planted in 2008. It was a beautiful sunny day for a harvest and we got a total of 15.5 tons of grapes from 2.3 acres of third leaf vines. Family and friends gathered for the event. We really appreciate all the support!
The harvester is a very ominous piece of machinery. First I will give a quick summary of how it works and then individual pictures of some of the workings. The harvester straddles the vine row and has bows that vibrate the vines. As the vines vibrate, the grapes fall off into buckets on the harvester. These buckets then carry the grapes to either the chase trailer or the gondola. These are dumped to fill bins which are then trucked to the winery. In this case, most went to a local winery where they were crushed and pressed. The juice will be shipped to the final destination winery.
As the harvester works its way up the rows it dumps into the chase trailer you can see positioned a couple of rows away.
The arm, stretching out the side of the harvester, across 2 rows, is like a conveyor belt carrying the berries bin on the chase trailer.
Once the chase trailer’s bin was filled and while it was being transported to the truck, the harvester filled the gondola. Once the gondola is filled, it is dumped into a bin.
The gondola is a large tank on the side of the harvester. You can see it on the left side of the harvester in the first picture – the large silver tank. Inside the gondola is an auger which works to disperse the grapes evenly inside the gondola.
The off white, cone shaped pieces that you see are the “buckets” that carry the berries and juice to the top of the harvester where they fill into either the gondola or the chase trailer. This is selected by the driver of the harvester, who in this case is our oldest son.
As I said earlier, it can be an ominous piece of equipment. Here it comes – get out of the way!
Actually, I guess I was exaggerating, it is giving rides!
All in all it was a wonderful harvest. And now for the rest of the story…
There is a reason that my daughter is taking pictures while eating grapes (multi tasking). I am at home sick in bed during the whole harvest. That’s right – I missed our very first machine harvest! Thankfully, a lot of pictures were taken so it is almost as if I were there, almost.