Holiday® grape season happens once a year, after months of meticulous attention. Soon, your favorite extra-large, super-sweet grapes will be at your neighborhood supermarket, ready for anytime snacking perfection. The first time you sink your teeth into one of these juicy, robustly flavored seedless red grapes, you know why their taste is like no other. The wait is almost over!
Take a peek at this year’s Holiday grape harvest, and the dedicated team that hand-picks each cluster for the highest quality and at peak freshness.
“Harvesting beautiful, delicious grapes is such a special art,” says Monica Escoto, Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Columbine® Vineyards.
Harvesting Holiday grapes is an art, but growing them is an exact science. As “stewards of the soil,” Columbine Vineyards is building on a nearly 100-year legacy of growing grapes in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They sustainably grow the highest quality, freshest grapes, including the Holiday variety, developed after over a decade of careful cross-breeding.
Each and every Holiday grape is a pop of perfection, ripened on the vine and harvested at precisely the right time. That takes a lot of TLC. Seven days a week, for months beforehand, the growing team monitors the water quality, vines and soil, carefully adjusting irrigation schedules and testing the leaves.
“Everything starts out in the field,” says Escoto.
Last winter’s careful pruning and thinning ensured the vines would be laden with perfectly plump clusters by late summer. Columbine’s quality assurance team monitors the fields before harvest, checking that the sugar content, berry size, color, acidity and humidity are all exactly as they should be.
“Everything requires a lot of training, from the harvester to the picker to the packer,” explains Escoto.
That includes the harvest itself.
Each cluster must be held in just the right way, to maintain that natural “bloom,” or the white blush that serves as a natural protection against insects and disease — and is an indicator of freshness.
“We must make sure we’re being delicate with the product,” says Escoto, so that your favorite vine-ripened snack arrives fresh, juicy and bursting with flavor.