First Wine Grape Harvest gets a Blessing
Lucas & Lewellen marks the start of harvest
With prayers and sprinkles of Holy Water on a half-ton bin of hand-picked pinot grigio grapes, the Rev. John Finley performed a special “blessing of the grapes” last week at the Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards facility in Buellton.
The blessing over the first harvest of grapes is an annual tradition for the family-owned company, which has estate vineyards in the Los Alamos, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys.
“Harvest time is a special time,” Louis Lucas, co-founder of the winery with Royce Lewellen, said Thursday in his toast after the brief ceremony celebrating the culmination of nine months of work.
Besides the pinot grigio grapes, which were harvested earlier in the morning at the Los Alamos vineyard, Finley of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Goleta also blessed Lucas, Lewellen, all of the staff and vineyard employees and the five international interns — two from Argentina, and one each from Chile, Spain and Uruguay.
Lucas & Lewellen plans to harvest 40 tons of grapes for its own use, 20 fewer tons than a year ago, in the next 60 days, Lucas said.
“We’re all excited,” he said.
The “good size crop” is about 10 days early thanks to warm weather and a lack of winter rain, he said.
Megan McGrath Gates, Lucas & Lewellen winemaker, expects the days will fly by.
“I think we’re going to breeze through a gorgeous harvest,” she said.
A total of eight bins of pinot grigio, weighing about a thousand pounds each, had been harvested so far.