It’s that time of year again. That hot and hazy time of year, when the only break you get is in the form of a torrential downpour. The vineyard has been working hard up to this point. The vines are soaking up the hot rays from the sun, and pouring that energy into an ripening the grapes. What is it about grapes that has made them such a glutton for punishment? It seems that the more brutally hot the summers are, the better they thrive. This summer started out that way, with June brutally hot and dry. But June gave way to July, with regular (albeit beautiful) thunderstorms and over 8 inches of rain. Coupled with a cool spring, that has set our harvest behind by a couple of weeks. August and September are the keys though to the harvest…hot, dry weather to fully ripen the grapes.
They are so close you can taste it. Well, the sugar that is. For the next few weeks and months we will be sampling berries from each varietal until the sugar levels are just right. They call this testing for Brix. For example, 20 brix = 20% sugar and so on. As the grapes begin to ripen, the grapes not only sweeten, they turn color…a signal to the the critters that are not far off, lurking in the shadows of the woods. Deer and birds are our biggest offenders, but lets not forget about the raccoons, possums, and turkeys, not to mention the little guys…bees, wasps, ants, etc. They ALL like sugar! For deer, there is an eight foot high fence around the property, but an occasional deer will still find his way in to munch anyway. For birds, we play a tune to mimic the sound of predatory birds, which helps, for a while. This year we are testing out something new. It’s a bird kite. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a kite, shaped to look like a predatory bird and it’s purpose is to scare the real ones away. We will see how well it works. For the others…we keep the fingers crossed!
We are a boutique winery with around twelve acres of grapes and all grapes are hand picked every year. The first varietals to harvest will be our Chardonnay and Viognier in early September. Harvest will likely last until about early to mid-October, when we will pick the Montepulciano and Nebbiolo. It’s an exciting and incredibly busy time for a Vineyard and all hands on deck are needed – as well as their families. So if you happen to see a scruffy man wandering around mumbling incoherently to himself, please speak kindly to him. He’s our owner and winemaker, Ken. And don’t worry, he’ll come around and be more like himself by November.