Thursday, October 18
I was invited to go to a vineyard crew end of harvest dinner at Mazatlan restaurant in McMinnville. This was a special, unique occasion to meet the vineyard crew, our seasonal workers. I sat at a table with a couple of cellar crew who came out to say thank you to the vineyard team, along with a couple of guys who are part of our regular vineyard staff. We talked about food, mostly. I got a lesson on authentic Mexican cuisine, versus the Americanized~Mexican fare found in most Mexican restaurants. This is most obviously seen in enchiladas, I’m told.
Two of the crew finished their dinners, except for the jalapeño pepper. I asked if they were going to eat the peppers. They looked at me as if I were crazy. I love hot, spicy food. I told them I’d eat one of the jalapeño peppers. Again, they looked at me as if I were crazy. It’s funny how some peppers have zero heat, and then the same type elsewhere can be muy calore! It all depends on the seeds, and where the peppers are grown – I’ve heard the hotter and more arid the region, the hotter and spicier the seeds, which supplies all of the heat for the peppers. Well, this particular jalapeño was definitely grown in Hades. My face turned tomato red, my eyes watered, my forehead even produced a couple of beads of sweat. The guys at my table all laughed out. It was pretty funny, even if it was at my own bravado-bearing expense!
The best part was after we ate, our vineyard manager handed thank you gifts to each crew member, to include a cool, black ball cap and a really nice, blue jacket, both with embroidery of our logo. Many of the workers sons wanted to wear the caps, so I went around taking pictures of fathers and sons in the logo gear. They were all so proud.
I was really happy that I got to be a part of this evening, getting to meet and thank our vineyard crew for their dedicated work this harvest. These aren’t simple people who just pick fruit. They are very skilled labor, trained in the delicate work of cutting and removing fruit quickly and efficiently. Our vineyards and wineries couldn’t exist without them.