Grape Picking

Happy Fall!

No one can argue anymore that it’s not fall!  Personally I’ve been celebrating this wonderful season since September first, but there are some naysayers out there who insist on waiting until the actual astronomical fall before they’ll admit summers defeat.  Fine by me, more pumpkin spice for the rest of us who have our priorities straight.

This past weekend we tried out a new fall activity that I think might stick.  We are pretty involved with one of the local wineries, being part of both their wine club and barrel club.  We can’t help ourselves, they make fantastic wine.  When we heard they were looking for people to help harvest grapes, we jumped at the opportunity.  Saturday morning we got up early and went out to the vineyard.  The trees are just starting to turn, and from the vineyard you could see a bit of the lake that is close by.  The winery shares land with an orchard, and with the unseasonably hot weather you could catch a hint of apple in the air.  If it had been about 20 degrees cooler it would have been my version of heaven.

Once we all assembled the winemaker took us out to the rows that we would be picking.  After a quick tutorial on grape picking we spread out and began our work.  The only disappointment was the clusters of bees you’d find snacking on the riper grapes.  Thankfully, we were also encouraged to try out the grapes, which were a tangy white grape called La Crescent.  3 ½ hours later, we had picked the last of the grapes in our rows.  It was tough labor for such a hot day, but we made our way back to the winery where we were greeted with glasses of wine and air conditioning.  We were able to try out a wine that was made with La Crescent grapes that were picked last year, so we had an idea of what the final product would be like from what we had picked that day.  So good!  As an additional thanks for our work, everyone got to take home a bottle of wine.  We were particularly excited about this since it was a frugal way to add to our wine collection.  Not only did we score 2 bottles of free wine, we also each enjoyed a glass at the winery, and we were able to experience another part of the wine making process.  

But wait, expensive wine doesn’t sound frugal…..

While spending more for this delicious local wine is definitely not frugal, we choose to stay connected with this winery for a couple reasons.  Wine and beer are two big interest areas for us, and having the relationship with the winemaker at this winery is an opportunity to learn more and get the inside scoop on how he makes the wines and what the story is behind each wine.  It also allows us to support a local business, which is important to us too.  Plus, life is just too short to not drink fantastic wine.  We do have our go to inexpensive bottles of wine that are still delicious, but it’s fun to sprinkle in a nicer bottle here and there.  

Remember, being frugal isn’t about living under a rock and never spending any money.  Knowing what is most important to you, and spending reasonably on those things is critical to maintaining frugality without burnout.