As harvest began in Livermore Valley, winemakers from throughout the valley gathered with local clergy on Wednesday, August 20, in the traditional “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony at Garre Vineyards and Winery. The custom of blessing the first fruits of the harvest can be traced back to Old Testament times and has been practiced for centuries in wine producing countries around the world.
The Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association is continuing the tradition at the beginning of harvest each year, this year at the new Bella Rose Event Center at Garre Vineyard and Winery. Chris Chandler, Executive Director of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association led the event, joined with Pastor Steve Wilde of the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore, Father Mark Wiesner of St. Charles Borromeo of Livermore and Rabbi Laurence Elis Milder of Congregation Beth Emek of Pleasanton. Each member of the clergy told about how wine and grapevines have a special meaning in their religion. Rabbi Milder pointed out that one of the first things that Noah did, once the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat was to plant a vineyard, making him one of the first winemakers.
The clergy invited the winemakers and audience to join them in the Blessing of the Grapes for this year’s harvest. As the attendees gathered afterwards to celebrate with some wines and cheeses from Garre, we learned that many of them have already started the harvest and many told this reporter that they were heading to the fields afterwards to check on the ripeness of the grapes soon to be harvested.
For more information: Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association