Gantz Family Vineyards’ third harvest got under way early Saturday morning at 2:30 a.m. when three crews from Cornerstone Certified Vineyard – 26 very hardworking people – showed up to begin snipping our fruit off the vines. Seven hours later, the crew had seven tons of Pinot Noir fruit to deliver to Kosta Browne Winery.
Harvest is always an emotional time for us, the culmination of another year’s hard work, hopes and dreams. We were concerned about our overall yield because a cool and damp spring had effected set, which is when a fertilized flower turns into a grape. But we doubled our yield from last year – from 3.5 tons in 2014 to 7 tons this year – which is pretty good for our 4.5 acres of young-ish vines. And we feel armed with lots of ideas on how to improve yield next year.
One of the things we’ve most enjoyed from this growing season was establishing a relationship with our new vineyard manager Jim Pratt and his crew at Cornerstone Certified Vineyard. It’s very collegial, to the point that when I noticed some missed or dropped clusters during the harvesting process, I felt comfortable to wade in with a bin and “sweep up,” grabbing up the clusters to add to our overall yield. Next year, it might be a fun job for our friends and family who are always offering to help out around the vineyard (hint, hint).
In the end, farming is very hard work, very risky and no one is going to get rich. Our satisfaction comes from creating this special place and then working as a team with people from all walks of life to realize our shared ambition of producing wine grapes of exceptional quality. Then we get to sit back and watch as the second half of our team, Kosta Browne, takes our fruit and turns it into a product that honors our efforts and gives pleasure to so many people.