Through the Vineyard’s Eyes

(The title of this post is dedicated to Rach, who looooooves my flair for dramatic metaphors. A special shout out goes to an editor that once read a sentence of mine that started with “through the eyes of her herb garden,” highlighted the sentence, and commented, “I have no idea what the writer means.”) 

Anywho, it’s teatime!


Yum. This is kind of random, but I have hardly had coffee in the mornings since we’ve been living in New Zealand. I haven’t really been making my own, so the only times I have coffee are in cappuccino form, as a special treat. Shocking, right? 

Like yesterday:


Cappuccino + Jane Austen + Fresh croissant = awesome day off. There may or may not have been a viewing of Harry Potter #7 in there as well. 

There’s just nothing like a warm beverage in the morning to make me feel all cozy and homey, especially when the weather outside looks like this:


Spooky, right??

Snapping that picture this morning (thank goodness for my phone cover, cuz my hands were super sticky) reminded me that I wanted to talk on here in a little more detail about what I’ve been doing at work. 

Well, when it comes down to it, I’ve just been picking grapes. BUT by picking, I actually mean snipping clusters of grapes off the vine and into the white buckets pictured.

(I had this moment on Tuesday where I thought to myself, “what if picking grapes actually meant picking. grapes. Like grabbing every single berry off the cluster, trying not to squeeze it?? Cody said that some wineries do this when the grapes arrive at the cellar, calling it “hand de-stemming.” Crazy!)

I do this cluster-snipping with these babies:


My precious, precious snippers. They need some love right now – they’re a little sticky from the day’s endeavors. 

The way a picking day works is that the head of our crew gets instruction from the vineyard and winemaking teams, telling her how many pickers will be needed and at what time. She sends us a text the night before, letting us know the details. We arrive in the morning, walk (or drive) to the vineyard site in question, and get at it. 

Usually, a prep team arrives 15-20 minutes before everyone else to lift up any nets and to set out buckets.


This is a shot of some of our team picking today – we spread out and pair up with someone across the row, then start snippin’ away. 


(Bonus points for a spider web or two… or two hundred… in there)

One of my favorite things about the picking team is that it’s made up of locals from the two nearby towns, Haumoana and Te Awanga. We vary in age from 16 to 76, and after only a couple days of picking with the group, I feel totally included. Everyone knows everyone (we’re talking about tiny beachside towns), and we all talk and laugh, hoot and holler and joke around, all the while snipping at clusters and walking down the rows.

I know I’ve said this already, but it is like a mental spa treatment every time I pick grapes. It’s a little hard on the back after a few hours if the grapes hang low, but I play music out of my pocket (thumbs up for the iPhone), chat with my picking partners, and tromp around in my winemakeress boots.



Bye, grapes! Have fun fulfilling your destiny.




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