As fall starts its arrival in Minnesota the days grow shorter, the nights are cooler, and the harvests begin. For the past few years we’ve helped some friends in the Wabasha area with their grape harvest. On a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, they have a beautiful vineyard that’s expanded every year. Last weekend we spent a day with friends and family picking grapes for this year’s harvest. Our work began under an overcast sky. After a couple of hours we stopped for a lunch break, only to look outside and see it raining. We continued harvesting in the rain for a few hours (not a problem except for the rain drops that ran down our arms when we’d reach up to cut the grape clusters), and then the clouds cleared and the sun came out leaving the grapes glistening with the rain. These are Frontenac grapes, a variety bred by the University of Minnesota and known for its cold-hardiness. As the sun started its descent to the horizon we left the vineyard feeling good about a full-day’s work outside. We shared a wonderful meal with our fellow grape-harvesters and then headed home with gallons of fresh-squeezed grape juice to enjoy in the upcoming months.