Crushed Grenache gris grapes, from Mcdowell Valley in Mendocino, will become Donkey & Goat’s Isabelle’s Cuvée, a rosé, named after the proprietors’ daughter. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Jared and Tracey Brandt survived this weekend on very little sleep. It’s wine harvest time which means the Berkeley winery they run on Fifth Street was in full crush mode.

On Saturday evening, as he hosed down the tall silver tanks in which newly crushed grapes would soon be stored, Jared admitted he was feeling a little dazed with all the hard labor. And the crew still had a long day of work ahead of them on Sunday.

The couple, who started Donkey & Goat in 2003 and moved into their new premises this year, had friends along to help them, however. Tony Hecht lives in the neighborhood and stumbled upon the winery about a year ago. “I fell in love with what they’re doing, and also with what they represent: a transformation of this part of West Berkeley from an aging industrial area to a cool-yet-approachable artisan base,” he says.

While Hecht himself didn’t clamber into the barrels of grapes to help crush them by foot, he did help with picking through the fruit to discard debris and leaves, and with the clean-up. He also took several of the photos here.

After three days of work, the workers will have processed six tons of grapes which will eventually produce about 1,000 bottles of wine.

Donkey & Goat co-owner Jared Brandt loads the stem crusher. Photo: Tony Hecht 
Friends of the winery help pick through the Grenache gris grapes to remove leaves and debris. Photo: Tony Hecht

After being picked over, the grapes run through the stem crushing machine which disgorges them into barrels. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Amy crushes Grenache blanc grapes with her bare feet in a barrel. The Brandts say this traditional method is more gentle on the grapes than using a machine. Photo: Tony Hecht
Tony Hecht, Michelle, Jamie, and Amy (in barrel with umbrella for sun protection). Photo: Suzy
While her parents worked in the winery, Isabelle, 6 and three-quarters, made herself a piňata. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Jared Brandt uses a forklift truck to move the barrels of crushed grapes, each of which weighs 1,200 lbs, inside the winery. Photo: Tony Hecht
After the crush, the grapes will stay in barrels fermenting, then be transferred into large tanks where big particles will settle, after which they are back in barrels for several months before bottling. Photo: Tracey Taylor

A natural approach: Berkeley’s Donkey & Goat winery [06.02.11]
Berkeley’s Donkey & Goat wine bash draws hundreds [03.7.11]

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...