Red Eye Grape Harvest: Photo Gallery

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The grape harvest is underway in Sonoma and Napa valleys.

Huh? Where? Why is there nobody in the vineyards?

Night Harvest, Sonoma
Night Harvest, Sonoma – Russell Johnson

Fact is, you missed them. The pickers and machine operators have already gone home, showered and had a platter of Sonoma eggs. (Eggs are an alternative currency here, like bitcoin from chickens).

This is not like the movies anymore. Grape harvesting is done in the dead of night and there are lots of good reasons for it.

Temperatures can get into the 80s and even 90s during harvest season. Nobody wants to work in that heat, under that voluptuous sun. Best also to work when the bees and rattlesnakes are snoozing.

Picking at night delays oxidation and spoilage: the grapes are still cool and firm by the time they reach the wineries so they are easier to handle and process. If they were to be brought in warm, they would have to be cooled off, a tremendous waste of energy.

Also, grapes can be hard to spot in the middle of the day. At night, they glow in the artificial light. In the morning, as the sun begins the rise, the grapes and vineyards sparkle in the mist.

Here are a few picture we took during the harvest at  Hanzell Winery in Sonoma.

Vines in Fog - Sonoma
Vines in Fog – Sonoma (c) Russell Johnson
Grape Picker - Sonoma
Grape Picker – Sonoma (c) Russell Johnson
Grape Harvest - Sonoma
Grape Harvest – Sonoma (c) Russell Johnson
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