The above video depicts one of our two Gregoir harvesters, a wonderful piece of machinery which has revolutionized our harvest operations. The basic system is straightforward: the harvester shakes the canopy and knocks loose grapes; the grapes and juice are all caught and brought upwards by a conveyor system; and the whole lot is sent down up a boom arm and into a gondola, pulled by a tractor running parallel to the harvester. Once the gondola is full the operator pulls away and heads for the landing, where the grapes are dumped into previously arranged grape bins, while simultaneously a second tractor and gondola pulls into position below the boom arm. The video below depicts the landing and the moments before the Gregoirs begin harvesting.
It is a tightly choreographed dance of machinery which allows us to harvest continuously for hours and hours, however long is needed to make the scheduled deliveries for the day. Previously harvest operations were limited by the number of people we could get together for a pick, which could result in delayed deliveries and weather delays; now we can pick whenever we need to, allowing us to dodge rainfall and pick when it is best for the fruit and for our customers. While some of our customers were initially unsure about machine-picked fruit, all have come around to the idea, after noting no drop in quality and appreciating the convenience offered by the harvesters.