Sunday, May 4, 2014

Through the grapevine

There was plenty of banter as locals converged to pick one hectare of pinot noir grapes at Cumberland Vines in Franklin this morning. The weather wasn't as kind as last year, but it was still very pleasant under the netting, snipping bunches of grapes, filling buckets and carting them to be loaded on to a truck headed to the winemaker this afternoon. With many hands on deck, it didn't seem to take long at all. We took a break for morning tea in the shed with plenty of cake, then went back to work until all the grapes were picked by around 1pm. We finished with a lunch feast and a glass of wine in the shed, as local musicians Steve and Marjorie Gadd played upstairs in the shed. What a great little community we have.

View from the vineyard 100m above the Huon River
A crate full, ready for the truck
Heading in for lunch after the work is done


  1. I never quite understand how some grape growers can get their crop gathered in for nothing when other fruit growers - and I'm one - must pay full wages, superannuation etc.

    1. Yes, interesting isn't it. I was chatting with the grower last night about it. I guess there are a few reasons 60 of us showed up to do it:
      - You don't have to be young and fit (unlike apple picking) - plenty of retired people helped.
      - It's only four hours on a weekend, starting at the civilised hour of 9am - they don't ask too much. I was chatting to former NSW and WA grape growers yesterday who had to start picking by 5am due to the heat. Doubt so many would volunteer for that!
      - Franklin is a very social village and we love an excuse to get together over food and a drink. The owners put on a fabulous feast of cakes and coffee, a hot lunch with wine and beer. She said she has helped all day at other vineyards without even a cup of tea.
      - And for people like me who work at a computer all day, there's nothing better than more sociable work in the fresh outdoors!
      - It's kind of funny, because the owners are really grateful and keep thanking us, while we are all thanking them for the invitation! So everyone benefits.