News & Feature Articles Written About People & Places in Lake County, Ohio            

Friends, family come together for the picking

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who picks grapes at St. Joseph Vineyard:

Don Kocsis of Concord Township, whose aunt and uncle grew Concord grapes for Welch's juice and jelly products, "a big trade here back in the 1950s and 1960s," he says. He still wonders, as he harvests, what it would have been like if he passed on college and never left his family's farm.

Luci Pietrzyk, Art's sister, and her friends, Vicki Watson and Judy Ketchum. They show up gloved against yellow jackets, armed with grape humor. "I just had some pinot . . ." says Vicki. ". . . for breakfast," interrupts Judy. "Nooo," scolds Vicki. "We're not that bad," says Luci. "Why not?" asks Judy. "It's a fruit."

Jo and Scott Farnham, wine lovers from Kirtland. "We thought it would be fun to pick grapes," says Jo, decked out in a wide-brimmed canvas sun hat and protective glasses. "It's just part of our effort at supporting local farmers," says Scott, a member of a fine-wine tasting club. "And, for them to be one of the top three winemakers in Ohio, it's not shabby."

Close friend Marjorie Appleby of Mentor, who picked until her son, Dave, was critically injured in a driving accident. The Pietrzyks staged a benefit, raising $10,000 for him. Marjorie remembers: "Fall is the special season. You're outdoors, in the vineyard, out in the country. There's a quiet to it. It's unobtrusive. Safe. And it's like therapy in itself when you cradle a cluster of grapes in your hand."

- Debbi Snook