ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — While many of you are stocking up on vino to help you through the storm, they’re trying to save the wine at Keswick Vineyards.
The threat of torrential rain could destroy the fruit, so workers are racing to pick the grapes before Florence rolls through.
“Trying to beat the storm. Trying to get fruit off in a healthy condition that gives us a good chance still to make some fantastic wines this year,” explains Winemaker Stephen Barnard.
The winery knew it needed extra hands for the early harvest, so it asked people in the community for help.
Beau Bishop said working at a vineyard was on his bucket list anyway, so he spent Tuesday working the vines.
“I just wanted to do it,” says Bishop, “I knew he needed help, so just came out to give him the help he needs.”
“It takes a disaster to show how fantastic people are,” adds Barnard, “We’ve had volunteers that have come in that have been here as early as they can and pick whether they pick one lug, 10 lugs or 20, it’s a great help and much appreciated.”
The storm threat means they’re picking the grapes a little early.
Harvest just started two weeks ago. It can run as late as October.
Keswick’s Winemaker isn’t willing to risk losing the 2018 vintage by leaving the fruit to face Florence.
Crews have their work cut out for them. They need to handpick about five tons of grapes before rain rolls into the area.