Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grape Picking in 40c heat, what were we thinking!

On Sunday, Mr Mel and I ventured to a local vineyard, Ernest Hill Wines, to partake in their annual members pick.  We had received the invite about 10 days earlier, and accepted, before we knew that we were in for 10 days of 40c+ days.

So Saturday rolls around, and Mr Mel pops his already dodgy knee, and can hardly walk on it. We give it till 7am Sunday morning, he thinks he'll be ok, and I make him promise to let me know if it starts hurting more. He agrees, moreso because he doesn't want to let down the Ernest Hill guys by piking, when they'll think we're just pulling the pin because of the heat!

Off we head, for our 7.30am start, there's a crew of about 30 other members, armed with water, sunscreen, hats, secateurs and buckets, so we join the brigade.

By 8am we're half-way down our first vine, and loving it, feeling the weight of the warm grapes drop in your hand as you snip them off is very satisfying, and not long after my first bucket is full (see pic below), and a 'bucket boy' comes to swap full for empty.

Proof - my first bucket of grapes
By about 9am we've done 3 rows, and the seat is pouring out of us, it's very humid and warm, luckily Ross the vineyard owner comes round with waterbottles, saviour!!

We chugg through another few rows and before we know it, the whole block has been picked!  5 tonnes of late pick semillion that will be used in the deliciously decadent Lunar Spark by Ernest Hill.

Let the picking begin
Red faced, sweaty, sticky from grapejuice, we make our way up to the tent, and collapse onto seats, grab a beer, and have a chat with other pickers. One couple are wanting to move up here form Sydney, they pick our brains, and we rave about the lifestyle, we think we've converted them, wouldn't be surprised to see them round town soon!

Ross & Jason of Ernest Hill put on a great brunch, rolls with bacon & egg or sausage & egg, with drinks, and complementary bottles of vino.  We partake in all aspects, delicious.

Then Jason tells us he's setup a traditional stomping case, where a few buckets of grapes will be put in for us all to stomp, then he'll turn it into wine, the traditional way, and send us all a bottle.  Having done similar when they established the vineyard, he warned us it may not be drinkable, and after seeing some of the feet and much going with them into the case, I don't doubt it.  It will be a bottle that tells a story rather than gets drunk!

We shall call it Chateau de Feet
All in all, a terrific day, hard work, and we were absolutely knackered, but have already put our hand up to have another go in 2012.
On arrival at the kickoff point
Can't wait to try the 2011 Lunar Spark and our dodgy Chateau de Feet bottle in the coming months!
Luna Spark - the end result of our efforts
Till next time,


  1. Hello Mel That looks like so much fun OK except for the heat.Well maybe it is -15c here and a bitterly cold wind so maybe. It would be great to see and do the whole process.

  2. Hi Buttons, it was great fun, even with the sweltering heat, well worth the effort! We're definitely doing it again next year! Cheers, Mel.

  3. What a great experience! I would love to do that one day. I'll bet the wine will taste all the better for your efforts.



Related Posts with Thumbnails