Do you use a machine to harvest your grapes? Ask a winemaker Wednesday

A friend asked a question recently in a direct message. They asked about our harvest and we thought you’d like to hear the answer!

Join us each Wednesday as we post Marty and Ryan Johnson’s answers to their Ask a Winemaker Wednesday

“Do you use a machine to harvest your grapes”?

We don’t, for several reasons…We hire an amazing crew to help us pick our grapes by hand. This group has been working with Marty for nearly twenty years!

Harvesting by hand provides the opportunity to sort out any berries that have been damaged by weather or birds (yes, they LOVE our Tempranillo too!). Any sun damaged berries or secondary (smaller) clusters that just didn’t get ripe enough can be dropped to the ground as well.

Picking the clusters manually is more gentle on the fruit and on the plants, and we’re helping a group of workers that have become good friends as well. The intimate size of our vineyard (only 1½ acres) really precludes bringing in a big machine and the short 300 foot long rows are more suitable for the camaraderie of a group of friends laughing and joking while they work.

How long does it take? This year, the crew of 6 pickers efficiently harvested 9,188 pounds of grapes in 2 hours (we pay $0.12/pound)! They did have some help from our amazing friends! Every year, we invite folks to come over and help carry buckets and dump them into bins as this allows the crew to focus on sorting and picking the yummy berries. It has been a very good system for us. And our friends can earn a bit of “good will”…Bottom line is we are committed to producing the best wine possible for you to enjoy.

Do you want to learn something about:

  • Winemaking?
  • Grape growing?
  • How we farm the land?
  • Our garden?
  • Why we do the things we do?
  • Or even that quirky couple, Marty & Ryan???

by Ryan Johnson

You can find Marty, Ryan and Magdalena Vineyards on Facebook, Instagram and of course at

Do you have a question for Marty and Ryan? Head on over to their Facebook page and send them a message or fill out the form below and we will forward your question to the vineyard.

One thought on “Do you use a machine to harvest your grapes? Ask a winemaker Wednesday

Leave a Reply