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Kirk Drake
November 30, 2023 | Kirk Drake

Birthday Bucket Bonanza

The moment Kimberly opened her birthday card, she couldn't contain her excitement. "We're going on a grape harvest adventure!" I announced with a grin. But little did we know, this adventure would involve more than just grapes; it would include an actual bucket!

The journey began in the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Kimberly's eyes sparkled as she read the words "Oregon grape harvest in Willamette Valley." The anticipation was palpable as we ventured into the world of winemaking like never before.

Arranging a grape-picking adventure from across the country proved to be a challenge of its own. The grape harvest schedule was as unpredictable as Oregon's weather, and finding a farmhand gig wasn't exactly a common internship opportunity. But I was determined to make Kimberly's grape dreams come true.

With relentless research, countless phone calls, and a dash of determination, we embarked on the mission to secure Kimberly's dream gig. Finally, our prayers were answered when we connected with my good friend, David Decklemann, a gracious soul willing to help us navigate the world of wine.

David's brother was a seasoned grape farmer with a charming little winery tucked away in the Willamette Valley. Their warm welcome made us feel like part of their winemaking family. Kimberly was practically bubbling with excitement as we set off for a day that would change her perspective on wine forever.

The day of the harvest arrived, and there stood Kimberly, bucket in hand, ready to tackle the vineyard like a pro. The rows of grapevines stretched as far as the eye could see, their luscious clusters glistening in the morning sun.  In reality, most of the fruit at this vineyard was machine harvested, but that didn’t stop Kimberly.

As Kimberly began picking grapes, the cool breeze rustling through the leaves and the soft chatter of fellow harvesters filled the air. Each plump grape that found its way into her bucket felt like a small victory. The connection between her and the land was tangible, a sensation that words could hardly capture.

But the surprises didn't stop at picking grapes. As the day progressed, Kimberly was invited to participate in the winemaking process. She donned gloves, rolled up her sleeves, and ventured into the winery's cellar, where bins of fermenting grapes awaited her.

One particularly memorable task was "punching down the cap." With a specialized tool in hand, Kimberly pushed the grape skins that had risen to the top back into the fermenting juice. It was a tactile, almost therapeutic experience. The squishy sound of grapes under her tool brought forth peals of laughter, and her smile could have lit up the entire cellar.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the vineyard, we gathered with newfound friends and celebrated our day's work. Glasses were raised, and the clinking of wine glasses filled the air. Kimberly had not only picked grapes but also discovered a passion she hadn't known she possessed.

Every sip of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir that evening felt like a tribute to Kimberly's newfound connection with wine. It was more than just a birthday adventure; it was an awakening of the senses, a discovery of true passion, and a celebration of the beauty that exists in every bottle.

Looking back – this was a huge step in our wine making journey. Kimberly had checked off one bucket list item and added a new one – make our own wine!

Ready to uncork your own adventure in the Rogue Valley, Oregon? Explore our exceptional wines and toast to your own unforgettable moments!


*Author: Kirk Drake, Champion and Primary Influencer of the Financial and Oenophile Sectors 


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