Grape Harvest

Well, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and intended to add more to it later…but time has slipped away and I’ve finally decided to go ahead and publish it, even if it is a bit late. Nothing much has changed since then anyway.

During the school holidays the last week of April, we got a call saying that it was time to begin grape harvest. I first helped with the harvest five years ago, when friends of ours were managing the vineyard, and have every year since then. It hasn’t always been the easiest or most enjoyable work ever, but over the years—and the last two, especially—I think I’ve learned to enjoy it more.

Grape Harvest 01

Picking up nets

There’s just something about being outside, helping with the harvest, that is exciting. You see the fruits of your labors—all those hours in the hot sun working to take leaves off so the grapes can get some sunlight, lifting wires to help support the still-growing canes and keep them in their proper places, or putting on nets to protect them from birds—watching bins upon bins of juicy fruit come from that work is exciting. Satisfying.

And while I may not always appreciate or enjoy some of the things connected to the harvest, I love thinking of the symbolism Jesus drew between harvests and workers, vines and His church.

Grape Harvest 02

Full buckets, awaiting the tractor’s return with an empty bin.

Several times, we had to pause in our work to wait for the tractor’s return. Usually it wasn’t long; most of the time we could keep working and just piled all the available buckets.

In the spiritual world, we are all waiting for the “tractor” to come to take us home to heaven. How full will our buckets be when the tractor arrives? Will we have done our best to prepare for that event?

Grape Harvest 03

We haven’t quite finished the harvest yet—the grapes under the white nets in the picture above have not ripened nearly enough. Last we heard, the Brix (sugar content) was at 16 and it should be between 21 and 23. That means the juice is VERY sour, and will not make good wine. We’re waiting to find out whether to take the nets off and let the birds eat the grapes, or if we’ll be able to pick them after all (providing it’s warm and sunny enough to let them ripen more).

Grape Harvest 04