As harvest begins in Livermore Valley, winemakers throughout the valley gather with local clergy in the traditional “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony. This year they gathered at the 3 Steves Winery on August 17 for the ceremony. This was a great locatio overlooking the hundreds of acres of vineyards in the valley. 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.
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 Larry Milder of Congregation Beth Emek of Pleasanton. Each member of the clergy told about how wine and grapevines have a special meaning in religion.
Pastor Wilde stated, “With the harvest there is a lot in which we have control and much that we don’t. We are grateful that we live in such a beautiful valley and that wine is a central piece in the sacrifice and teachings of Jesus.”
Father Wiesner also noted the importance of wine in Jesus’ teachings stating, “One of the first signs of what Jesus can do was converting water to wine”. Rabbi Milder pointed out that making wine is an act of faith and we thank the growers, winemakers and others in making wine and it reflects the magic of sunlight.
As the attendees gathered afterwards to celebrate with some wines and cheeses, 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