Working at Iuli is our second “harvest” experience, but our first experience actually harvesting grapes – i.e.. the clipping and picking of fruit. The labor was intensive, the heat oppressive, and the work – incredibly rewarding. Meghan and I agreed that this would count as our workout for the day. We started around 10AM, after the dew had dried from the vines and worked in the vineyards until around 4PM. It doesn’t sound like much from that description, but out in the sun, bent over at weird angles, hauling heavy baskets up; down; & across steep slopes, the hours add up quick. After bringing the Pinot Noir grapes in from the vines, we put the clusters through the crusher/destemmer and into tanks in the comfort and cool of the Iuli Cellar.
I can understand why wineries would choose to harvest with machinery rather than by hand, but I for one am glad that Iuli still does it the old fashioned way. It’s certainly better for the grapes, soil, vines, and wine, but also – for some primitive reason, as long as my body allows, I’ll always take a certain amount of pleasure from a hard day’s work.