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Just another Texas Winemaker’s Weekend

09.23.09

After five weekends of sharing the most joyful time of the year with our customers – Picking, stomping, education, tasting, sharing our passion with our Messina Hof family, Merrill and I hit the road once again.

Working with our growers years ago meant getting on the road, driving, picking up grapes, coordinating trucks.  Thirty two years later, here we are renting a truck and getting on the road.

1st stop – Picking up our Ryder Truck and realizing on our way to Waco that our truck can only go 57 miles per hour on a 65 mile per hour road with 2 lanes.  It’s strange, but every car that passed us hand gestured to us that we were #1!

2nd stop – Visiting with all our friends at the Waco HEB, April and Bill and all our friends in the Waco area, we sold our wines and a bunch of them.  You would think after doing this for 32 years that the joy would have worn out but it has not.  It is just as much fun now sharing our wines with new customers as it was 32 years ago.

3rd stop – Visiting with our Ryder truck repair shop in Waco, Texas we discovered why our truck only goes 57 miles per hour.  It’s amazing how important air is to a turbo charger just as air is important to fermentation.  Once our air leak was fixed then we were no longer #1.

4th stop – Visiting our friends at the Ridgewood Country Club, I played golf with Kris, Paul, and Bart, members of the gourmet club and manager.  After a great round of golf and a lot of sweat in our Texas 100 degree sun, we had a wonderful wine dinner prepared perfectly by Chef Ron and his culinary team.  After an extraordinary food and wine pairing experience we were sad to say good bye to our friends at Ridgewood Country Club as we headed back to the hotel for a short nap prior to our next journey.

5th stop – Up at 4:30 am and a quick cup of coffee we were on to our next stop at Granite Hill Vineyard to pick up our Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  It is amazing how wonderful a turbo charger is to a truck.  It makes us go fast and we arrived at the weigh station in Fredericksburg by 8 am.  At the Granite Hill Vineyard we were greeted by Steve and Joy Johnson.  The vineyard is beautiful and the fruit is gorgeous.  We loaded almost 9 tons of fruit and had a wonderful visit while Bill Blackman did an outstanding job with the harvester.

Almost at the end of the pick, I got a call from Reams Shofner who said they had just finished picking their Merlot in Lamesa.  It turned out to be a great harvest and the brix was 23.5.  Driver Keith was chilling the grapes and on his way to the winery.

After sharing lunch with the harvest crew at the Johnsons, the grapes were loaded and we were on our way home.  The truck was as loaded as it could handle.  Every time I saw a hill I said a prayer.  Downhill was beautiful; uphill was a struggle.

This wonderful harvest weekend brought back so many memories of when we started 32 years ago.  It was just the two of us on the road and in the winery and vineyard.  Harvest is a blessing.  It is the start of a new vintage and the start of another great adventure.