Sunday, September 9, 2012

Picking Grapes

Sept 8 & 9, 2012
Massbach Ridge Winery
Elizabeth, Illinois

You may remember I mentioned last winter that we belonged to Harvest Hosts, which is a network of farms, ranches, wineries, orchards, etc. that are willing to let a self-contained RV stay at their facility, at no cost.  Sometimes there involves volunteering to help out.

Massbach Ridge Winery is a Harvest Hosts member.  We were going to only stay one night but we found out they were harvesting and they needed all the volunteers they could get.  We ended staying two nights and had a fabulous time, of course I had to get out the ibuprofen for the aching shoulders and neck, but yes we would do it again.  Joe and I have never picked grapes before, in one easy lesson from Peggy, the owner, we were on our way.  We started about 0730 and soon there were at least 50 -  60 volunteers, maybe more.  There were people here from 3 yrs to about 80 yrs old, we picked 20 rows of grapes, in fact this was the last 20 rows to be picked this year.  We worked from about 0730 to 1200 and we were done.  We were then fed a delicious lunch of sausages, sauerkraut, salads, beans, brownies and all the fixins including  Sangria.  It was quite the feast.

This is how we picked the grapes, we were each given this little tool (that is partially hidden behind the leaf)  the end of the tool is a V that is very sharp.  You just put the V up in there on the stem and snip, the bunch comes right off.  Then the grapes go in the bucket, when the bucket is full, grab another bucket and Peggy will be along with the wagon to empty the buckets.

Peggy, owner, picker, driver, you name it she does it, 
oh yea she is also the Master Wine Maker

 The Lab (I don't remember his name) is catching a ball.

 Peggy's cute little nephews

 Peggy never stopped

When we got back to the tasting room there was a Can-Am Club 
that had stopped by for a little tasting

 And, a Corvette club stopped by

This machine takes off the stems, leaves, mice and what ever else got brought in.
This is the end and it was already wash up and it getting ready to be put away

The stems to be hauled to the compost 

Three vats of grapes that we picked today

time for lunch 

 Notice the big container of Sangria, it was reeeeaaaly goooooood...!

 Me picking grapes

The grapes are starting to ferment, a small amount of yeast has been added to the vats

All the buckets have been washed

All the wagons have been washed

Today was the last day of harvesting - that corn is a different farm

What a great day, now for another glass of wine and off to bed.  Tomorrow we are moving again.

Drive safe, have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. This was so interesting. I've never seen grapes picked before. Oh, I've taken a few off a friends vine, but nothing like that. Great lunch too.
    ~Betty from Milwaukie, Oregon

  2. I bet it will be a few days before the purple comes off of your hands! What an interesting experience.

  3. That sounds like so much fun. Thanks for telling us about it.