With harvest approaching in each of our winegrowing regions, I could not help but notice this sign, located in Ashton, Idaho which is the self-proclaimed ‘Seed Potato Capital of the World”. It seems that the local high school closes for the potato harvest as the kids are needed on the family farms to operate the mechanized harvesters.
Mechanical harvesting is making big inroads in agriculture generally, but less-so in the harvesting of quality wine-grapes. Approximately half of all of the wine-grapes in California are harvested by machine--mostly in the Central Valley--it is likely less than 10% in the Coastal regions. The same is probably true for Oregon.
I know quite a few high school kids who would love to take a week off to drive a $300,000 harvester around a field. I don’t know any who would take time to pick grapes by hand!
Harvest is nearing and we're looking forward to another successful vintage here at ELV!