Calling all volunteers.... May 21st-23rd...El Dorado County, CA

Working on a real vineyard May 21-23rd. Who wants to volunteer?

Calling all volunteer wine enthusiasts…here is a wonderful and fun opportunity to learn about winemaking and to work like pro’s at a real vineyard—if you want to participate, let me know!

We have 7-8 acres of premium estate Merlot grapes that need tending. My friend, Jim, is the vineyard owner and grower in Fair Play, CA. This is a prime award-winning wine region known as El Dorado Hills.

Be part of the berries-to-bottle process, and have fun and taste some wonderful regional wines and food all at the same time! He said he would love to host our group on the weekend of May 21-23rd.

Wineries and vineyards usually charge hundreds if not thousands of dollars for this type of adventure, but all we ask of you is for some sweat equity!

Once there, we will listen to informative lectures on the growing, harvesting and crushing process, then tend to the vines. We will provide you with a delicious BBQ at the vineyard, and host a wine & cocktail party with live music at a local B&B. There will also be an optional no-host dinner at a wonderful local, authentic Michelin worthy Italian restaurant. And of course, lots of opportunities for wine tasting!

We will be helping not just the grower but the local small businesses as well. A huge winery conglomerate came in and bought up everyone’s grapes and then filed BANKRUPTCY and never paid any of the people. Almost everyone got hurt by this…so here’s your chance to help out these wonderful folks through your passion for wine!

After we call it quits at the vineyard we will guide you along a wine trail with over 30 wineries with complimentary wine tasting.

For those of you who want to save dollars and don’t mind roughing it, you can pitch a tent on the property. But be forewarned, it is very rustic. For the rest of you, I can arrange accommodations at a local hotels and B&B’s.

We will organize carpools, or if enough people are interested in cost-sharing, we will arrange for a van to drive us up and back. If you are planning on flying up, you should know that the area is about an hour drive from Sacramento and about 2 hours from Reno.

I would ask everyone to dress appropriately–sneakers, jeans and layered tops are recommended. It can get very hot and then cool down just as fast. You will be laboring in the sun, so you should definitely bring a hat and shades and sunscreen. Shorts aren’t recommended since the vines will prick your legs. If anyone has garden shears or clippers and/or work gloves, please bring them. The vineyard has extra tools, but in very limited sets.

The task is: Tucking and Suckering
Tucking–getting all the fly-away vines that are starting to grow taller and tuck them into the trellis wires.
Suckering–using shears to cut off the baby growths that form on the vine like 2nd and 3rd bunches of grapes next to the large bunch of grapes. They cut off the baby ones so they don’t “suck” the life of the already maturing bunches of grapes.

This is just the first of the season of fun & informative events we have planned. We have vineyards all over the wine countries (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara County, El Dorado County, Sonoma and Napa Valley). We will be going strong through Harvest and Crush! So stay tuned for more opportunities to help local growers this Summer & Fall!

If interested, please contact me directly or through our university at Thanks for your support!!


Barbara Wolford

I feel like a dolt for having shelled out hundreds or thousands of dollars in the past to spend days laboring in the vineyards!