|Champagne toast & receiving|
|A swarm of locusts.|
As a kid, I used to hear stories from college students who went to France to pick grapes at the harvest. Now, we just walk to the neighbors (a bit more convenient than the trip to Europe) and what could be more fun? If you've never participated in a grape harvest, I suggest you find one and go. It's good entertainment for the whole family.
What makes for a good harvest party? Here's what I've learned from Merlot Mike over the years, with a couple of other ideas thrown in. What recommendations do you have for us to make it better?
-- Open nets the night before (so the guests can right to work harvesting grapes)
-- Prepare buckets and clippers for the guests
|Relaxing after harvest, before|
-- Champagne toast (ask Jim bring his sword to make a grand show) and a good warm up speech
-- Lots of bottled water
-- Shady area to rest
-- Truckloads of food (Merlot Mike's better half Nancy makes this brisket to die for each ear). Ask the guests to bring a side dish if they are able. Need lots of food to soak up that wine.
-- Big, healthy males with strong backs
-- Nubile maidens to do some ceremonial stomping
|Merlot Mike (R) with|
Stone Beer in hand
with Blue Door
-- Quality control team to pick out any large stems or leaves that make it through the crusher
-- A scale (to weigh the harvest as it comes in and the must)
-- A hose down team (to hose buckets and containers as needed)
-- A Gator, Polaris or another vehicle to haul grapes if long distances must be covered
--Samples of wine made from the vineyard.
Instructions for New Pickers
-- #1 Don't Cut Your Finger! (Merlot Mike always invites Veterinarian Don to be on hand just in case. The problem, according to Mike, is the guy who last got his finger sewed on by Don hasn't stopped barking.)
-- Raisins are good. Throw them in.
-- Leaves are bad. Keep them out of the buckets.
--If a bunch falls on the ground, pick it up, dust it off and throw it into the bin.
--A 5-gallon pail can weigh 15 lbs. or more when full. Don't strain yourself.
--Do taste the grapes.
--If your dog eats grapes, keep him at home (grapes can kill a dog).
--Stay hydrated (it takes good beer to make good wine), wear sun glasses and a hat and enjoy yourself!
What do you think makes for a great picking party?