Sticky Fingers

Every year my friend Craig invites a bunch of friends up to his vinyard to complete the grape picking and enjoy the fruits of last years’ labours. This year, thanks to the drought, the crop was so poor he didn’t even bother getting the contractors in to get the majority picked first.

Ms Canada and I headed up early on Sunday (it’s a 1-1/2 hour drive) and were among the first to arrive and we were put on the job straight away. All you need is a set of secateurs and a hat. You pick into a 10 litre bucket, with each of you on opposite sides of the vine row. When the bucket’s full, you leave it where it is for collection and grab a fresh one which hopefully will have been left for you.

The grapes (Shiraz) were small, often no more than dried raisins. As a result, the crusher jammed up on too many stalks, and for a while the plaintive but futile cry of “Bucket Please!!” could be heard from all directions.  There were no empty buckets coming back from the crushing area. Fortunately it got fixed before we all got sunstroke.

Sandra put on a superb lunch. We washed it down with copious amounts of last years vintage and wobbled off to do the afternoon’s picking.

About 1/3 of the vinyard was unpickable. The grapes were just too small and too dry.

We finished up at about 6pm. The result was very poor; less than 1/6 of the volume they would expect in a normal year. A depressing return after a year of pruning, spraying, weeding and cultivating.

A social success though.


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