On Friday the 9th we started picking around 10:00 am. We decided to start a bit later in order to let the ground soak up a bit more of the water. It was cloudy but it didn't rain so we got a good start on our big vineyard. We had lots of people too. Our friends Rhonda and Lori had arrived from the states, Matt's mom Joan was here as well as my dad and a few loyal friends. The worst part about doing all of this yourself is that after a long day of picking you have about 2 hours of work left back in the "cave" or winery when you get home. I'll explain to you how we did things, every winery is different, but this is how we organized it. We loaded the red and gray cases full of grapes onto the Hertz rental van that we used to transport the grapes. Once the van was full, we drove back to the house where you unload the cases and put the grapes through a de-stemming machine that removes the stems and then pumps the slurry of grapes and their juice into the vats. (see pictures above) Then we added a small amount of SO2 which is a preservative, and yes, is considered ok for organic winemaking. The first week since it was so hot, we used a cooling system to bring down the temperature of the grapes and juice once they were in the vat. The cooling system we have is a stainless steel tank used for chilling milk, we filled it instead with water and pumped the very cold water through stainless steel panels we call drapeau that act as sort of a radiator to circulate cold water through them. Then we waited, it would take several days for the fermentation to start, we are not adding any commercial yeasts or enzymes, only the naturally occuring yeasts will serve to make our little organic wine! Amazingly, it worked with out any problems, funny what mother nature can do without human intervention!