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Join in the Harvest at Montoliva Vineyards

Join the land trust on a special outing-harvesting wine grapes at Montoliva Vineyards. You start picking around 7 in the morning at the Chicago park location, break for breakfast and work into the early afternoon until the grapes are harvested. Owner Mark Henry says it’s hard work.

“This is hard work. It’s not easy. People who have never picked a vineyard before, it’s something that they’ll tell me it’s on their bucket list to help with harvest in a vineyard and they’ll do it once because it’s not easy. Looking at the weather report, it says it’s going to be about 78, which means that by about 1:00 out at the vineyard it’s going to be about 83 or 84. So it’s going to be pretty warm, too.

But Henry says for most people it’s worth it when they get to come in from a morning of harvesting and enjoy the brunch his wife and family have prepared for the volunteers.

“We would knock off typically around 10-10:30 and have a champagne brunch. My wife Juliann and her mother and sisters spend the morning in the kitchen making strata and eggs and all kinds of stuff. They whip up mimosas and we have champagne and we sit there for an hour, hour and a half and read the Sunday New York Times and go back out and finish picking.”

If that sounds like a great way to spend your Sunday, you can be one of the 20 or so volunteers invited by calling Melony Vance with the land trust at 272-5994 extension 200. Henry will provide the buckets and clippers. Dress appropriately and bring gloves, water and a sun hat and plan on working.

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