Harvest season begins at East Bay wineries

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- The wine industry officially started its harvest season Wednesday morning in Livermore with the picking of four tons of grapes at La Posita Vineyards and a blessing of the grapes by three local religious leaders.

"The best thing about Livermore is we work together. We are all friends, we all want each other to succeed," said Brent Amos, the winemaker at La Posita.

It's a tradition to bless the grapes in Livermore, a centuries old ceremony to honor all of the vineyards in Livermore and the people who work to harvest these grapes. But from the looks of the grapes so far, this harvest appears to already be blessed.

"The quality is good. The weather has cooperated. Livermore has had no effects this year from smoke or fires. Hopefully that keeps up," Amos said.

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The winery still has 17 other blocks of grapes to pick over the next couple of months. They know there is still a threat of smoke if any wildfires ignite nearby.

"It's been good so far. We are hoping to keep up that momentum and roll with the punches," said assistant winemaker Samantha Bunegin.

Winemakers say it is not unusual or awkward to stand with each other and receive the same blessing, saying they are friendly competitors and they hope for a healthy season for everyone.

"In the industry we are like brothers and sisters. We want the best for every single vineyard," Bunegin said.

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