“My mom says that they bless the grapes every harvest. They have a rabbi and a priest come out and bless the grapes.”
Background Information and Context:
“[They do it] to prevent curses (her voice raises like a question). I don’t know. They just do it, I guess.”
The informant is from Lompoc, CA, which she often facetiously refers to as “wine country ghetto.” Her mother works at a winery.
Despite wine production and wine tourism being an important part of her hometown, the informant is not necessarily knowledgeable of the traditions of the industry. This shows how one does not necessarily have to identify with local traditions. A cursory Google search revealed to me that blessing a harvest is common in vineyards across the world and that the purpose is to ensure a bountiful harvest. In many places, the blessing precedes a festival. I found it interesting that the tradition that the informant mentions involves both a rabbi and a priest, showing that it incorporated more than one religion.
For another example of a blessing of the grapes ceremony, see “Blessing of the grapes celebrates Livermore Valley’s 2017 harvest” on The Mercury News.