Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards in Southern Maryland was very pleased to be able to host Flat Aggie for a visit during our harvest season.
Aggie came down to help us with our grape harvest in our vineyard.
On the day that Aggie visited we harvested two different kinds of grapes, the variety called Cabernet Franc (which is a purple/blue colored grape) and the variety called Vidal Blanc (which is a yellow/white colored grape).
Our farm is a fourth generation family farm, and all the harvesting in the vineyard is done by hand, so our entire family was there to help. From our 7-year-old nephew to our 80-year-old grandmother, the whole crew was there! Aggie was happy to jump in and lend a hand.
As we picked the grapes by hand, we put them in small yellow plastic containers called ‘lugs’. Then, when the lugs are full we dump those in to the really big containers called ‘bins’.
After the bins are full, they are picked up with the tractor to be taken to the barn for processing. These bins hold over 1,000 pounds of grapes and are very heavy!
Our CASE IH tractor, that we call Casey, does all the heavy lifting for us.
Once the grapes are picked up by the tractor they are dumped onto the elevator belt and carried up to the de-stemmer and crusher.
Here the stems are separated from the grape clusters first, and dumped in another bin. Then the grapes are crushed, so that the juice begins to flow out of them.
Then the grapes are put into the big press, which presses them over and over, until all the juice comes out and the grape skins are dry.
The juice is pumped into a tank, and sometimes we get a cup of the fresh juice to drink as it’s being pumped into the tank, and it’s delicious!
The dried skins are then picked up by the bucket of the tractor and taken to our compost pile to breakdown into a nice lovely compost that we can use on the garden in the spring.
So that is how we harvest and process grapes, and on the day Flat Aggie visited, we harvested 8,841 pounds!
We thank Flat Aggie for visiting, and hope he enjoyed learning about grapes.