Hey, I’m Alan.
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 headhunter who specializes in wine industry job placement, then give me a call or send me an e-mail today.
Contact Alan Brooks at 888-305-1484 Ext. 201
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 of them.
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.