Sample Harvest Contract

Bruce Zoecklein, Assistant Professor and Enology Specialist
Department of Food Science and Technology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Blacksburg, VA 24061

This model harvest contract is intended to cover some of the basic issues between grape growers and vintners. The most successful relationships are those in which an active, long term, and highly communicative partnership is established. Because only the vintner knows the type and style of wine to be produced, he / she should take an active role in vineyard management decisions. Incentives paid to the grower help to assure high quality fruit production. For information on current Virginia grape growing issues influencing wine quality, subscribe to The Vineyard and Winery Information Newsletters, Virginia Cooperative Extension and selective trade journal publications.


THIS AGREEMENT, made and entered into this day of , 199 , by and between hereinafter referred to as "Grower" and hereinafter referred to as "Vintner", both of whom are hereinafter collectively referred to as the "Parties",


WHEREAS, Grower is engaged in the business of grape production; and,

WHEREAS, Vintner desires to purchase a portion of Grower's grape yield on a yearly basis for consecutive years, commencing with the execution thereof:

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing recitals, which said recitals are incorporated herein by this reference, and the mutual convenants and conditions hereinafter contained, the Parties agree as follows:

1. Grower agrees to sell and Vintner agrees to buy the grape yield produced by Grower from Grower's vineyard located in County, Virginia, from the following described tract located thereon:

Acres, of variety

Rows through ,



Tons of Variety

Acres of variety

Rows through ,



Tons of Variety

However, the quantity of each variety of said grapes produced per acre shall be controlled by the Grower in its sole and absolute discretion unless both parties agree otherwise.

2. The Grower agrees to inform the Vintner verbally or in writing his best estimation of the expected tonnage per acre from each cultivated block by a specified date each year.

3. The Vintner will record at the signing of this contract each year the harvest parameter(s) desired for each variety. Both parties must agree that the attainment of specified harvest parameter(s) is a reasonable and realistic goal.

4. Following the development of 15 Brix for each variety the Grower agrees to begin sampling once per week for the harvest parameter(s) stated in Item 3 above. At 18o Brix the Grower agrees to sample twice per week and at 20o Brix the Grower agrees to sample three times per week. The Grower also agrees to employ only the following sampling procedure: a minimum of 200 berry samples, taken from the middle of the rachis, randomly selected within each varietal plot avoiding end vines in the vineyard and sampling randomly from each side of the vineyard row and from interior and exterior portions of the canopy.

5. The fruit analysis is to be performed by either the Grower, the Vintner, or an independent laboratory at the discretion of the Vintner.

6. If the grower performs the analysis the Vintner agrees to supply to the Grower a specific methodology for sample preparation and analysis. Additionally, if chemical reagents are required for analysis they will be provided by the Vintner.

7. If the Grower performs the analysis, the Grower agrees to supply the Vintner with the results of such analysis including the number of berries sampled on a semi-weekly basis.


8. Compensation is to be based upon a pre-set price per ton for each variety each year - with a pre-set percent adjustments according to the following:

A) M.O.G. (material other than grape) content.

B) Delivered fruit with bird and insect damage.

C) Delivered fruit containing mold damage.

D) The Grower will receive a % increase over the pre-stated compensation per ton if harvest parameter(s) are met as stated in Item 3 above according to one or more of the following:

1. pH within .05 pH units

2. Titratable acidity within .030 grams per 100 milliliters expressed as tartaric acid

3. Brix within 0.5 Brix

4. Other(s)

E) At the signing of this contract each year the Vintner and the Grower will agree upon an independent laboratory or personnel to verify Items A through D above if arbitration is believed desirable.

9. The Vintner will pay to the Grower at his discretion a stated percentage above the base price per ton of the following:

A) That the grapes harvested by the Grower be harvested at night and delivered to the winery within a specified time period.

B) The desirability of using refrigerator trucks for fruit delivery should also be fully discussed and elaborated.

10. In addition to the above, both Parties agree in full to the following:

A) All grapes will be delivered to the winery less than 6 hours following harvest unless both parties agree otherwise.

B) All grapes will be harvested only in clean, inert, plastic lugs or plastic lined bins of a specified size unless both parties agree otherwise.

C) The Grower will add liquid sulfur dioxide to machine harvested fruit at the time of harvest only if desired by the Vintner. The sulfur dioxide and specific instructions in regard to addition levels and methodology are the responsibility of the Vintner.

D) The Grower agrees to supply the Vintner upon request a complete and accurate accounting of all vineyard spray materials used during the growing year. This includes materials, quantities and time of application.

E) The Grower agrees to supply to the Vintner upon request full and complete information regarding fertilization and management history for the particular vineyard and/or block(s) entered to in this contract. The Vintner agrees that such information is confidential and is to be used solely by both parties in reviewing the relationships between vineyard management practices and wine palatability.

F) Payment to the Grower is to be received in full no later than days following delivery to the Vintner.

G) Grapevine canopy management issues such as crop load, shoot thinning, selective fruit zone leaf removal, summer pruning, etc. will be fully discussed. The Grower will strive for uniformity and optimum canopy management as defined by the Vintner. The number of Vintner vineyard visits and the full extent of Vintner involvement in vineyard management decisions should be discussed and defined.


In WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.