Harvesting for Gauchezco Wines
We were eager to get our hands dirty in Mendoza and jumped at the chance to harvest grapes at one of Gauchezco Wine's vineyards in Maipu. Eric Anesi, the president of Gauchezco, picked us up and we squished in the back of his truck with four other Ex-pat harvesters.
We got to the vineyard around 9:45 am, but all the other workers had been there since 7:00a.m. They were very patient and showed us all the equipment we needed: shears to cut the grapes from the vines and containers to put the berries in.
For each full bucket we brought in, weighing around 50 pound each, we were given a token worth 2 pesos (or 50 cents US). These are exchanged at the end of the day for cash, and the best harvesters do about 30 containers per day...imagine, $60 AR ($15 US) for a 12 hour day picking grapes.
Needless to say, we were determined to bust our asses and be helpful, not burdensome. After 2 hours, covered in mosquito bites and grape juice, we had filled three buckets each and earned $10 AR total ($2.50 US).
I can't express the respect we gained for the whole process and the people who make it all possible. Harvesting grapes is not easy work at all!
After our stint in the vineyard, we were rounded up for lunch while the rest of the workers continued to harvest. We stopped by the winery for pictures and then headed out to Eric's favorite lunch spot: a gas station.
Yes, I said gas station, and the restaurant La Barrica is a fantastic locals secret. Complete with black table cloths, waiters in aprons, gourmet food and a thick wine list, this place really stood out.
I ordered pink salmon with couscous and sautéed vegetables, and Jeff ordered the kebabs of beef, chicken and vegetables. Eric was a huge fan of the rabbit, and we all loved the San Felicien Chardonnay after our hot morning in the sun. When we left, I seriously had to double-check that we were really at a gas station.
After an amazing day of work, wine and food, we were all ready for the siesta, and unlike the other harvest workers still in the vineyard, we went home for a nap.