The whole state of California is about 15 days on average, late harvesting wine grapes.  We’d normally have harvested on Labor Day Weekend, but now are not picking the Petite Syrah until September 25th and the Zinfandel will likely be harvested on October 2nd. 

We’re ready.  The volunteers have been notified, the food is in the freezer and the wine and sangria is ready to be served.  Our wine making supplies and equipment are in house – literally, in the house since we have no other building yet, in which to make wine.  These are just small vintages being produced at the moment for our personal use, and to practice what we’ve been learning about wine making.The term “work party” is used for these sorts of events, since friends and acquaintances gather to work and then we party.  While it’s hot and dirty work, the party part makes it all worthwhile.  Some of our friends are coming out the Friday night before to camp over, so they’ll be here for the 7 a.m. work start – and to extend the party time!   

It’s important to start early, before the day gets hot.  The grapes need to be cool when harvested.  We’ll be done picking by 10:00 or 11:00a.m. but some will help with the crush too.  We will clear most of the furniture off the patio, and rename it “The Crush Pad”.  We have a crusher/destemmer we bought last year that will be set up there, and we’ll crush/destem our own 2010 Vintage Petite Syrah.  That will be about 500#, twice as much as we made last year.  Then, we’ll let the party begin with lunch:  BLTA Salad, crusty bread and brownies (homemade by Charter Member Janet Lange) and mostly local wine.

BLT(A) Salad
About 6 servings

2 cups (uncooked) large macaroni, rotelli, or other pasta, cooked, rinsed & cooled
8 slices Bacon, cooked crisp and diced
1 cup (4 medium) Tomatoes, chopped
1 bag (4 cups) Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup Non-fat Ranch salad dressing
1 Avocado, peeled and diced (optional)

Cook pasta, drain, rinse, drain again and chill. In large bowl combine all ingredients and toss.

Tip: A quick and non-messy way to cook bacon. Lay strips on a rack in an open roasting pan. Bake in a 425° oven until crisp about 20 minutes.

A 2 cup portion = 4 Weight Watchers points. If avocado added, add those points.