Well, unfortunately I didn't get to help out much with harvesting. While Rob drove the tractor, I helped Cyd in the garden. Not my specialty, but I got to pull out wild plants, ok, I could handle killing things :)
Rob, did get to help with the harvesting, and Cyd and I took morning tea out in the morning, and I got to see how it happened :)
So, it all starts with a tractor, or 2...... and and another tractor that halls this machine.
OK, it was originally explained in simple terms as above, to me, however I didn't quite get it. How did the grapes fall off, how was a 'tractor' supposed to get down the rows and "take off the grapes", how long did it take.
This is how it works. Yes, it does take 3 tractors. One tractor goes down the row pulling a machine that fits on either side of the vines (see picture below). This machine vibrates, shaking the vines, which shake the grapes off their vines. These grapes get dropped into a conveyer belt which then drop into another tractor pulling a bin. (The third tractor follows the second one and takes over when it gets full) The'2nd' tractor is 2 rows next to the first tractor (see pic) and has to keep ahead, and in pace as the other tractor. The pictures below more or less explain it.
I think its one of those things that you have to see to understand.
Yes, the tractors are able to fit in the rows, barely, and make tight turns when they get to the end; but they do have to miss a few rows and come back. In this field of about 10 acres, the owners got 1.8 tonnes of grapes - which isn't very much. About one ton can fit in a bin, and we heard that some bins where filling up ever 2-3 rows in other vineyarda. That is ALOT! Especially if you consider that one bin can pay out at about $10, 000!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, it's pretty obvious Tim and Cyd didn't do that well this year, which is all part of the farming industry. Maybe next year will be better?!???
Tractor 1, that pulls the vibrating/conveyer machine
Rob getting ready for his first tractor run
Does it kinda make sense now??
You can kinda see some grapes falling down into the bin