I like tractors,
vineyards and wine-growing. I'm the founder and managing director of Alton Morgan,
Inc. That's me on the pedal tractor. Wine-grower kid, and now wine
industry headhunter. The picture was taken on
my family's vineyard property where I lived as a young boy. I
loved growing up surrounded by the wine-growing industry. One of
my most memorable moments was when I retired the pedal tractor
and started to race up and down the vineyard rows with that same
tractor my father is sitting on in the above photo.
I remember my father placing me on the tractor seat with him and
teaching me how to shift the tractor gears. Next he let me
steer the tractor down each vineyard row. This was so COOL! It was not long before
I was driving that tractor all by myself. My father taught me at
an early age everything from driving tractor, vineyard
sulfuring, irrigation to vine pruning, vineyard wire repair,
vine tying as well as grape picking. And I loved every minute of
it, working along side my father on our vineyard properties.
Just like others, we had our fair share of ups and downs over
the years in the commercial wine-growing industry. One year we
were faced with a fairly big problem. We experienced a
farmworker shortage and grape-pickers were in short supply. So
my father and I decided to pick our smaller vineyard ourselves.
It was a lot of fun. I started the tractor every so often to
move the grape gondola down the vineyard row a bit as we
harvested the grapes. Normally you would keep the tractor
running as the pickers filled the grape gondolas. With just the
two of us working, speed was limited. It was my first time
harvesting grapes, and I quickly learned the importance of
keeping the grape knife away from your opposite hand as you cut
a bunch of grapes. I nicked my hand more than once during the
harvest. I have close family members who currently own and
manage hundreds of acres of vineyard land. Today, they use a
mechanical grape harvester to solve some of the same harvesting problems we had many years ago.
Our grape-growing heritage dates back to the early 1920s. My
grandfather, pictured on the left, traveled every day by bicycle to work at a nearby
vineyard owned by our cousin. His bike route took him past the
very vineyard in the above photo. As he would peddle past the property each day, he would say to
himself, "someday I'm going to buy that land." And he
did. The property became our family's first grape vineyard.
My grandfather also bought commercial buildings in town, but
that's another story.
Once my father became older, he managed the above
mentioned vineyard property. And he bought his own
grape vineyards as well. My father also decided to move upstream. In addition to the grape vineyards,
he started a farm supply store in town. The company sold vineyard
wire, grapevine twine, vine ties, grape knives, grape-picking
pans (which they used years ago) and other
supplies to the local grape growers in the area. You can see one
of the first
company trucks in the above photo with the name on the door.
My father has since passed away, but I often think about how fun
it was to work along side him on our grape vineyards. And
to this day, I have an antique Ford tractor stored in my garage
at my home located in the California Central Coast wine region.
The tractor is
identical to the one my father is sitting on in the above photo. It still runs great and was my father's favorite tractor.
I have a special passion for the vineyards of California and the
wine industry in general. There is
nothing more exciting to me than making genuine connections in
the wine industry and helping others succeed, and I love being a
part of that for every client and job candidate I work with.
If you need to hire a wine industry professional or you're
thinking about a job change and need a good recruiter or
specializes in wine industry job placement, then give me a call or send me an
Contact Alan Brooks at
Or e-mail me
to request more information.
If you click on the below link, you'll see some old weigh tags
from the winery where we sold our wine grapes many years ago.
These weigh tags are for grapes that came from two vineyards
owned by my father. I personally
drove the above tractor down the very vineyard rows that
produced those grapes on the weigh tags. As a young boy and
later as a teenager, my job was to help take care of our two
small vineyards. There's nothing like listening to the
purr of an old Ford tractor as you wait to near the end
of the vineyard row to make a quick turn into your next target
row. It was great! If you like eye-opening, funny
and poignant stories, you're going to love hearing about some of the
wonderful adventures from our family's grape farming days.
Surprisingly, they range from Hollywood to the grape vineyards. Just ask me about a few
If you're wondering what are weigh tags, these are the receipts
given to you when you
deliver your grapes to the winery. You are ultimately paid on
the weight of the grapes
delivered to the winery after the harvest. So they weigh the
truck and trailer loaded (gross weight), then they weigh the
truck and trailer empty (tare weight). The tare weight is the
weight of the vehicle when it is empty. The tare is subtracted
from the gross to determine how heavy the load is, which is the
actual weight of the grapes. They give you a weigh tag and you
are ultimately paid based on the weight of all grapes delivered
to the winery.
Click on the below link to see the weigh tags talked about. You'll also see another photo of me as a kid on the family's
vineyard property where we lived.