A Morning on the Sugarstand

The Sugarstand

Crush is just barely starting, and on this morning there were eight truckloads of Pinot grigio scheduled to come in. I went to meet them.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio is a popular "white" cousin of Pinot Noir. This is what a cluster looks like on the vine.

The FIFO queue

The grapes had been machine harvested the night before, and when we rolled in a 6:45AM there were three trucks lined up waiting
(essentially a FIFO queue with buffer). The geese to the far left are taking a shower.

One more coming

Another truck on the way to the line. Each truck hauls two trailers, each trailer holds two bins, each bin holds approx 6½ tons.


Lynn rolls up on his heavily customized maintenance vehicle, note all the speakers.

First in, first out

The light goes green, the first truck rolls to a stop, and the stabber moves into position over the first tub.


The stabber is plunged into the grape bin, extracts a sample, and gets retracted upwards.


The sample is released into the bin.

The little old stabber operator....

Many cool push-buttons and dual four-way joysticks conrol traffic lights, pumps, stabber, sampler, and more.

Sample removal....

The tub is pulled off, some of it goes to to the left to a small crusher.

Crush we must....

The stumpy handle is just long enough to help push all the sample down into the crush rollers.

Sample removal....

The rest of the sample is examined and dumped to a return auger.

Temperate zone

The final product is a juice sample. The sample temperature and degrees Brix (°Bx) are taken.

Data entry process

The results are entered directly into the production system.

Networks everywhere

The ubiquitous computing - pervasive networking paradigm as expressed on the teststand.
This patch cable endures sun, rain, and cold. The gray patch cable is a dead one. The red one is missing a locking tang.

Tread on me....

The floor was an interesting non-slip surface that looked like honey-mustard covered rock salt.

Traffic Management System

Roads, traffic signs, traffic lights controlled from the sugar stand.....reminds me of Caltrans.
After five trucks and 90 minutes I headed off, somewhat sticky.