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We got back to the Terragena estate winery the same night as harvest. Even though we (Chris, Nickie, and Justin) had spent all day picking in the sun we had to crush the grapes while they were still fresh so they could begin their journey into the best possible wine. Harvest days continue for 20 or more hours. Justin was up by 3 am and didn’t quit working until at least midnight. Three cheers for the driver!

There was a little side story between leaving and arriving that I didn’t mention in my harvest post. Big Red (our affectionate name for the vineyard truck) decided to have a conniption about an hour or after Justin left the Holden-Mapley vineyard, and Justin ended up pulled to the side of the road praying for someone to stop and help. He was hanging out of the cab holding jumper cables. Someone eventually did stop, but Red wouldn’t budge on a narrow winding strip of road as the darkness was falling…

I was outside of cell range rushing back to Terragena winery to prepare for the incoming grapes. After the message finally got through, I was more than an hour ahead, and had to turn around. The truck alternator seemed to have decided that this day of all the days was the day to quit. The battery was DEAD, and it was DARK with no street lights.

When I got back to Justin, he had managed to make it to a pull-out off the side of the road, and I hooked up the battery to my little car with jumper cables and let it charge. Unfortunately there are no pictures of this because it was dark and we were focused on the truck with its precious cargo of grapes.

Fortunately, the truck had misbehaved before, and I remembered reading somewhere that sometimes if your alternator is giving up the ghost you can tap on it 3 times and the magic fairy will come and fix it so you can make it home. Shockingly, it worked!

We journeyed the rest of the way crossing our fingers that Red would cooperate and luckily made it back to the ranch around 9 or 10 in the evening. We were pretty delirious and full of adrenaline at this point so I’m not really certain what time it was. We then began to crush the ton of grapes we had managed to bring back with us. Below are some pictures of our triumph!

The key to good wine is hard work and determination. Never give up!