Petite Sirah Harvest ’14, the Crush is On!

Petite Sirah grapes at Trueheart Vineyards in Sonoma, California

Our petite sirah grapes, the evening before we harvested.

We harvested our grapes on the morning of Tuesday, September 23, four days later than last year.

A large team of vineyard workers arrived at 8:30 a.m. and quickly went to work moving through our two acres row by row, and vine by vine, using shears to cut off the grape clusters. Each worker filled up their own small picking bin and then carried it through the vineyard to hand it off to other workers standing on a flat bed truck, where the grapes were dumped into a larger macro bin. The truck travelled the periphery of the vineyard, making the distance from field to bin a bit shorter.

Each harvest is unique and beautiful, so I thought the photos could take it from here.



The petite sirah grapes are dumped from the small picking bin or lug, into a larger macro bin on a truck.

The grapes are dumped from the small picking bin or lug, into large macro bins that are stacked on a flatbed truck.


Harvesting by hand is hard work and requires an experienced crew.

Harvesting by hand is hard work and requires an experienced crew.

Tasting the sweet, ripe petite sirah fruit at Trueheart Vineyard in Sonoma, California.

Tasting the sweet, ripe fruit.


This year’s harvest was bountiful – 8.5 tons of bounty to be exact. That beat the previous record of 6.5 in 2012. While the 2012 harvest was big, we sold the juice because we didn’t get the flavors we wanted. We sold the 2011 juice as well, for the same reason. Given our small size, we made the decision a while ago to only make our Trueheart Petite Sirah when we think it will be outstanding. This year, we got bounty and sugars and flavors. We think this is going to be a remarkable vintage.

Beautiful petite sirah grapes, harvested at Trueheart Vineyard in Sonoma, California

Our beautiful petite sirah grapes.

Border-collie mix Mia, oversees the harvest of petite sirah grapes at Trueheart Vineyards in Sonoma, California.

Our sweet pooch, Mia overseeing the harvest.

Our 8.5 tons of petite sirah grapes waiting to be crushed.

Our 8.5 tons of petite sirah grapes waiting to be crushed.

After the grapes were harvested, they were trucked about a mile away to be immediately washed, de-stemmed, crushed and put into fermentation tanks where they will sit for about ten days. Then the juice will be drained off into a tank. The seeds and skins will be pressed and any remaining juice will be added to the tank. Here’s a 15-second video of the process. 

It’s a long process, and I often wonder who ever figured this whole thing out all those thousands of years ago! What are you harvesting this season? Tell me your stories.

Here are a few links from around the web I hope you enjoy:

A funny (but true) look at how parents raise their first child (like me) and their second child (sorry Sis!).

Making a 90 year-old woman’s dream of riding a horse come true. (Get your Kleenex, and be sure to scroll through the photos.)

A graphic to help determine how long it is going to take to read the gazillions of books I intend to finish – someday.

Listen to why pairs are often the most creative teams.

I’d love to attend this photography camp in Mexico this November. Maybe next year.

My Mom sent me this joyful video of a grocery store flashmob – singing opera!

Travel is not very high on my list these days, but when it reappears, I will use this guide from Anthony Bourdain.

With the cooler weather on its way, I need to bone up on some new scarf-tying tricks.

Happy Fall.

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