I learned how to drive a tractor well before I ever got behind the wheel of a car. As soon as I was heavy enough to step in a clutch, I was out in the vineyard, working the vines. Our tractor at Stone Cottage Cellars is what you'd call VERY manual. Sometimes it feels like you run out of appendages operating equipment, and it's one of those things that requires absolute attention. This story is an example of when paying a little more attention would have come in very handy.
I was driving a load of grapes out of the vineyard late on an October evening. After gathering all of the lugs on the platform attached to the back, I started to make my way out of the vineyard. As I came out onto the main road, I de-clutched to shift gears. This was about when my foot slipped off the clutch. The tractor jolted forward, and the grapes, unsecured on the back, decided to agree with physics and proceeded to fall everywhere in the gravel driveway.
After spending the next 2 hours in the dark sorting through gravel and grapes, I finally delivered them to the crush pad. This was one of those "parents shake heads" moments. Lesson learned: Gravel and grapes shouldn't mix :)