The sweet nectar of the vines is almost ready, according to David Hayes of Bluff Dale Vineyards.
Hayes is inviting the public to participate in harvesting and crushing 30 rows of Black Spanish grapes beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
And no, you don’t have to work for free.
“When we finish, we’re going to eat and drink as much as we want to, on the house,” Hayes said.
That is… for anyone over 21. Those participating underage can eat, but no wine. They’ll be given water instead.
“Usually we pick on the hottest day of the year, but the rain has delayed everything,” Hayes said. “This year the forecast calls for a cloudy day and spotty rain.”
Hayes said he’s been monitoring the sugar content of the grapes to determine when the harvest should occur.
The more sugar content (measured in degrees of brix), the more alcohol content the wine will have.
Last week the grapes measured 21 brix degrees and the target is 24 to 25 degrees, which he anticipates will happen Saturday, but if it doesn’t rise he said the harvest will go on.
It will take a year for anyone to open a bottle from this year’s harvest.
A new label will feature the endangered Atwater’s Prairie Chicken. The current label used features the endangered Whooping Crane.
Hayes said anyone that who like to participate is welcome, and it would be best to wear boots and jeans might be better than shorts. Hayes said if you have a bucket and some pruning shears bring those, too.