How Labor Challenges Affected the 2019 Grape Harvest

Nov 5, 2019

(Sevenfiftydaily) - With dramatic shift in the way the wine industry views labor.

September 24 was the day. It was time for Anne Hubatch to receive her fruit. The old-vine block of Pinot Noir destined for Hubatch’s Helioterra Wines rosé was ready to be harvested. The Brix and acid numbers were spot-on. The labor contractor had promised to send a team of pickers to the vineyard she had agreed to purchase fruit from, in the Eola-Amity Hills subzone of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. And rain was in the forecast for the next day.

But there was a slight problem. 

In previous years, Hubatch’s rosé site had been harvested by teams of a half a dozen or so skilled pickers. They worked quickly, with laser-sharp focus, crisply clipping clean bunches of grapes into their buckets, vine by vine. 

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