Northern California is known as "wine country," but you don’t have to travel 2,000 miles away to experience everything "wine."
The Salem Glen Winery in Rochester teaches guests to harvest and pick grapes.
During the winery’s free, three-hour event Saturday, wine enthusiasts got to learn about growing grapes, checking for ripeness, and the wine-making process.
Wine lovers strolled along the vineyards to pick the best grapes. They were picking Prairie Star, Marquette and Saint Croix.
Guests volunteered their time on the weekend to learn about their favorite wines, where they come from and how they’re made.
And it’s a win-win situation: those guests can enjoy the experience and learn, and the winery can get some extra help.
"We have a lot of grapes that need to be picked, and when there’s this many hands that could come out and help us for an hour or two," said Salem Glen Winery Owner Dustin Ebert.
Two thousand pounds worth of grapes will produce 700 bottles of wine. They were able to pick one ton of grapes.
But for Joshua and Leah Francis, it was about more than just doing something fun on the weekend.
"We went here on a date early last year, I asked her to marry me right over there. And it’s been an important place for us for a while, and when we heard about this on Facebook we just wanted to come out and have Salem Glen be an even bigger part of our relationship," said Joshua.
"We just thought it’d be really neat to come and support a local winery that’s meant a lot to us. It’s a big piece of our relationship and just kind of, yeah. moving forward we like to support it," said Leah.
And as Leah and Joshua enjoyed some wine after a couple of hours of working in the vineyards, they drank Coyote Hill, one of the first wines they had on their first date.
They were joined by all the other volunteers who sampled some wine before having lunch.
The winery will have another harvesting event next Saturday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.