When I was a kid grapes were picked into 50 pound lug wood boxes. They would be stacked at the end of the row and someone would come buy on a tractor pulling a trailer and pick them up to take them to the waiting truck at the barn for shipment to the winery. There they were each hand loaded on the truck, tied down and transported. When they got to the winery each box then had to be downloaded and dumped into the crusher, a lot of work to say the least.
My father, Louis P Martini, decided there must be a better way. He invented the Gondola. It was a two ton tub that was four feet across (to fit down the vine row) by eight feet long (the width of a truck trailer) by about three feet deep and a cart that these would sit on behind a tractor. The trailer would then be pulled down the vine row. The pickers each have a 35 pound plastic bin and when full would simply yell out their number, a counter on the trailer would punch their card and they would flip their bins into the Gondola. When the trailer reached the barn a fork lift would pick it up and set it on a twenty ton truck where it was hinged on one side and strapped down on the other. Then my dad went out and bought two World War II dry dock cranes which we stationed at the crushers. They could lift four tons at a time so we would dump two gondolas at the same time. Still used today, this method is but cranes finally died so now we have a stationary hoist in place to dump the gondolas.
The Monte Rosso foreman, a fellow named Joe Miami, thought my dad was crazy. My dad talked him into trying it. At the end of the season he went up to Joe and said, “I guess you were right we will give you back your boxes for next year”. Joe just about went through the roof because he thought my dad was serious. He was totally sold on the idea.