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Grape Harvesting Machine Video

David in Machine HarvesterWhen people ask me what it’s like to drive the machine harvester, it’s a bit hard to imagine, so we thought it might be fun to have you ride along with me. During the Chardonnay harvest, I wore a GoPro on my head so that you could see what it’s like to drive the harvester through my eyes. Warning! I tried to keep as steady as possible but I did have to move quite a bit.

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Night Harvest

Night HarvestOur Chardonnay Harvest is a wrap! We started picking on Tuesday, September 6th and finished just four days later. Each day at 4am, the vineyard team and I gathered at our shop, started the machine harvester and headed out to the block we planned to pick. At first, only our headlamps and the bright lights from the machinery light the way. It’s an incredible time of day. The cold brisk air, roaring engines, darkness all around us. I am anxious to start picking each season, but once we get going, I find that I’m calm. With each row, we have a sense of accomplishment. We’ve nurtured the vines over the entire year and now we see the bounty and results of our hard work.

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Summer Colors in the Vineyard

Sarah and Annie the yellow labEach season in our Alexander Valley vineyard has its own distinct characteristics and color. While most think of Spring as bright and exciting with all of the vineyard’s new growth, it is early Summer that I enjoy most. The vines have bloomed (small berries begin to appear under the shade of its leaves) and are beginning to grow exponentially. When you picture a vineyard, you see it as a blanket of green, but when you walk through a vineyard, there are a vast number of hues, perhaps as many as 50.

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Replanting a Vineyard

David Huebel explaining organic soil builder in the block that will be replanted.A vineyard is always a work in progress. Every block I have ever worked with has had a unique personality. Even two blocks of the same variety planted next to each other are often quite different. And each block has a lifetime. For some that can be 100+ years! Though about 30 or 35 years is more common. Sometimes disease can lead to a shorter life span. That is what happened to 13 acres of our Chardonnay.

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Watercolor Vineyard Map

Watercolor Vineyard MapI carry a small vineyard map in my wallet showing each block with its planting dates, rootstocks and clones, so when I walk the vineyard, I know the exact history of each area. We thought it would be fun to share a general map with you. Painted by my wife, Sarah, this vineyard map of Hafner in Alexander Valley denotes the blocks by color. Comparing this new map to my Dad’s (Dick) hand-drawn map, I am struck by what has changed and what has remained the same since we bought the ranch back in 1967.

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