Thank those of you who have emailed about my “Backbreak Mountain” column in the February issue ofBon Appétit magazine! It’s a story that I’ve wanted to write for a very long time now, but I could never have imagined just how much the experience would change the way I felt about a glass of wine. Most of all I am grateful to Doug, John, Elias, David, Uriel, Andy and the Shafer Vineyards team. You guys ROCK. I also wanted to share some photos from that night. Before this experience, I considered my greatest physical accomplishments running the Los Angeles Marathon in close to 90-degree heat and enduring childbirth (in that order). But neither of those events was as physically taxing as picking 11.75 tons of grapes on the side of a mountain in the middle of the night. These photos were taken after about three hours of backbreaking work picking hillside Cabernet Sauvignon in Shafer’s Sunspot vineyard. I lasted about four hours. These guys barely broke a sweat. And then they picked another vineyard. Hard core. Punk rock. And why we love our hillside Cabernet just a little bit more.
Photos by Andy Demsky