To Our Dear Vineyard Volunteers

December 6th, 2022.

The owners of Sage Hayward Vineyards, together with Max, Gabe and our other employees, wish to express our most heartfelt thanks to all of our Saturna friends who donated so many hours helping us with this year’s harvest.

Although we are building a stable and very capable crew of vineyard workers at Sage Hayward, and are definitely realizing the ‘fruits’ of their labour in the regeneration of our vineyard, harvest presents an unusual challenge that absolutely requires us to bring in extra help.

Once picked, grapes cannot sit for very long in bins before they need to be processed and go into tank.  It is also beneficial that we process all of the grapes that will become one wine type together in a single batch destined for one tank in the Winery.  This means that we must harvest each batch, or field block, as quickly as we can.  Our own staff, affectionately known as the “Pros”, simply cannot do this alone.  We need our volunteers.

We were recently in Penticton attending a conference of BC Wine and Beverage producers.  Of the many presentations and seminars focused on typical vineyard challenges, a dominant topic was the sourcing of sufficient field labour in general, and picking workers in particular, to complete a harvest is as short a time as possible.  The typical model in the Okanagan is to compete for ‘nomadic’ crews that can be hired as a group to harvest a Vineyard’s grapes as quickly as necessary.  These teams are in short supply. and hard to schedule for just when you need them and as weather conditions require.

Sitting uncomfortably in our seats, we reflected on our own paradox; that although running a remote Vineyard and Winery brings great and costly logistical challenges, we have never had any difficulty finding the required help for Harvest.  This advantage derives from the incredible community spirit and engagement that characterizes Saturna.

We are so delighted to be a part of this Saturna community.  In fact, our integration therein has been the most rewarding aspect of the Sage Hayward adventure.  We hope that all of you know how much we appreciate your help and inclusion of us in the Saturna culture of togetherness.

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