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Zinfandel Harvest ’14 – Pyska Family Style!

Home / Make / Wine / Zinfandel Harvest ’14 – Pyska Family Style!

We got the call on Friday,  “the grapes are ready!”  The hot, dry summer has everything ripening early, and the zinfandel are no exception.  Wineries all across the region are picking much earlier than usual, the heat and recent rains have complicated the already bizarre harvest season.  We scurried around to clean and prepare our equipment, and of course, our “crush pad”, which is our carport.

We woke up early, loaded up the kids, and drove to Sebastopol for our annual family zinfandel harvest.

kids picking grapes

The kids hopped out of the truck and got right to work picking.  Obviously, they’ve done this before!

kim picking grapes

Joel and I were expecting to pick the 1,000 pounds of zin by ourselves, luckily some old friends showed up to help out.

picking bucket

Michael, the vineyard owner, says these antique picking buckets and wooden crates were here when he bought the property, what a treasure!

pulling grapes

It was a hot, hot day.  Michael moved the grapes out of the sun, until we were ready to run them through the de-stemmer.  This was about half of our total harvest.

resting in vine shade

The kids needed to rest and picnic under the vines, then went to chase the resident chickens!

preprohibition vines

These zinfandel vines are truly amazing.  They are pre-prohibtion, planted in the mid-1920’s.  Apprantely, the home-owners knew prohibition was coming, and prepared for the dry-spell by planting these vines, which are about 90 years old.  They are “dry-farmed”, meaning they are not irrigated, and produce fruit that is incredibly flavorful.

jessica and grapes

Time to crush and de-stem the grapes!  We set the de-stemmer on top of the macro bin we borrowed from The Moore Family Winery , and poured the grapes through.

joel and destemmer

This machine pulls the grapes from the stems and punctures the berries, which means we have to get home and get fermenting!

family hands

Making wine is a family affair around here, and all hands are needed for the zinfandel harvest.  This is our 5th season making wine, and the kids have been a part of it all along.  Cheers to 2014 being a wonderful vintage!

Take a peek into my world of Eating, Gardening, Making and Mothering, authentically and with meaning. Thanks for visiting!
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