In a scene that will be repeated thousands of times around the Central Coast over the next two months, a forklift set a big bin of freshly picked grapes onto the concrete floor of the Lucas & Lewellen Winery.

To celebrate the beginning of the harvest and to honor the work that’s been required to reach this point in the growing season, the winery in Buellton held a brief but solemn “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony at noon Wednesday, mixed with light-hearted comments, a toast and an informal lunch.

“We really need this blessing,” said Louis Lucas, drawing chuckles from the group of about two dozen assembled employees and guests.

“This is my 39th harvest in Santa Barbara County,” said Lucas, co-owner of the winery with Royce Lewellen. “It’s the beginning of a journey that lasts about 60 days. ... We pray that the weather’s good, the grapes are plentiful, and everybody works hard.”

For more, see: Winery ‘blesses the grapes’