Sure-tell sign of spiders lurking in the near vicinity.
I wanted to illustrate how hand-picking is manual labor (#hardworkappreciation) of constant clipping, continuously moving down the row, filling one bucket after another until all of the grape variety is picked. It is repetitive, monotonous, inane work. To some, it may seem as demeaning, inferior work (#MexicansinAmerica #AfganisinAustralia) but when you take a quick break to look up from the work that you are participating in next to the winemaker, across from the owner, down the row from the hired help, along side the four-year-old son (#familyestate), and look down the row of vines you are standing in, you realize that you are part of the vineyard, completely surrounded by the magic that everyone thinks of when they think of wine making (#repeat #appreciation). Wait a second. Let me show you my scars, the cracks in my hands, the cuts, the bruises that I have that will forever remind me of the hard un-magical work that goes into making wine. But, that feeling of being a part of it, the feeling of appreciation, the feeling of equality, the feeling of witnessing beauty in the making, is truly gratifying.
I wanted to share that sometimes hand-picking is about the independence of putting the headphones on and getting lost in your own thoughts while clipping along to the beat, but other times it’s about the parallel companionship as the other person encourages you to keep up the same pace and often helps you with difficultly tangled bunches (#thelittlethings) The time is filled with getting-to-know-you chitter-chatter with a faceless voice on the other side of the vines that keeps you going until the coffee smoke-o (#theimportantthings).
I wanted to embellish upon the fact that hand picking grapes isn’t as easy as just clip clip clip (#skills). There are different ways to grow grapes, which in turn means different ways to approach picking the grapes. By managing the leaf canopy as to affect the way the bunches hang off the vines, determines and depends on numerous factors such as how much shade protection or sun penetration is needed to develop ripeness, promote photosynthesis, and prevent diseases; the desired air circulation; the accessibility of manual labor required for harvesting and pruning; controlling vigor and yields; and the distribution dependent on the climate, weather conditions, and location of the growing site.
I therefore wanted to elaborate that in this sense, since I am not yet accustomed to all the appropriate ways to quickly clip the bunches, I realized that I wouldn’t be very good at being paid per picking (#Tomatoland). Apparently there is a statistic of how much a person should be able to pick within an amount of time. If I am picking alone, I usually pick for both sides, therefore taking more time in one spot rather than clipping what’s on “my side” of the vines (#toomucheffort or #toomuchtime?). As I am aware of what it’s like to meet these grapes back at the winery as they are being sorted through, I fastidiously am discarding green/unripe/sun-bruised/raisin-y/bird-pecked grapes and making sure there are no leaves/moths/spiders/mice in the bucket. But regardless, Barry usually comes to me on the other side of the vines and says “How’s it going, Shauna? Pretty slow?” I slightly smile, reminding myself of the Quality Control (#Arina), and then match his pace.