Three gorgeous days! And a group of happy “winos”. The harvest was work, but oh so much fun!
August 27, 2017 – Aromella and Vignoles
The day began at 7:30 AM. We received our instructions from Tony and headed out to the vines.
Netted to protect them from the birds, the vines were waiting for us.
We got to work unsnapping the nets and harvesting the fruit with grape razors. (This are magical tools that work so nicely – much better than clippers. Add two to our Christmas list!)
Meet Aromella. A white grape with a tart yet sweet flavor. There’s nothing quite like tasting the grapes fresh of the vines.
Next it was Vignoles. Another white grape a bit more acidic in flavor than the Aromella. It it noticeably different with its very tight clusters.
As our bins filled, we emptied them into larger containers on the flatbed. The yellow harvesting bins hold approximately 25 pounds of grapes.
About 3-1/2 hours later, we were back in the winery loading the grapes into the crusher/destemmer.
Two horizontal augers move the grapes through the machine. As you can tell by the tight clusters, this is Vignoles being processed.
The grapes are quickly and easily separated from the stems…
…and the resulting must is pumped into the huge bladder press.
As water is pumped into the bladder, it expands pushing the must against the sides and pressing the juice out of the grapes. The fresh juice was so sweet and delicious! From here, the juice is pumped into the fermenting tanks.
September 3, 2017 – Vignoles and Marquette
Day two and we were back at it. This time harvesting the remainder of the Vignoles and moving on to Marquette.
A dark purple grape, the Marquette was easier to see among the leaves which made our work go much more quickly.
Marquette is another beautiful grape with wonderful sweetness. After having eaten wine grapes, I doubt I’ll ever have a desire for store bought table grapes again.
David happily volunteered to man the hose as the must powered through to the fermentation vat. The crushing and destemming process was much the same as it was for the white grapes. However, red varietals are fermented on the skins and seeds before the juice is pressed off.
We even got to do some actual grape stomping! If the vats had been just a bit larger, no doubt Vicki and I would have been dancing around in them like Lucy!
After the work was done, there was plenty of time for fun! Here Donna, Vicki, and I are headed back to the winery with thoughts wine glasses dancing in our heads.
After lunch and a few glasses of wine (well maybe more than just a few), Vicki and I tried out some new lipstick that Jen shared with us. Just like teenage girls, we had to do selfies!
Girls just wanna have wine! Er, I mean girls just wanna have fun! We did both!
September 11, 2017 – Marquette and Noiret
On our third and final harvest day, we were picking Noiret and processing the Marquette from our previous pick. Tony had the nets unsnapped and the vines waiting for us. We worked hard to search through the robust foliage to make sure we got every grape.
Noiret is another red grape with beautiful color and flavor. The grapes were larger in size than the Marquette.
Before we could process the Noiret, we had to move the fermented Marquette out of the fermentation vats. It had completely fermented to dry as evidenced by the seeds floating on top and the lees falling to the bottom. In between was beautiful new red wine.
Not a drop should be wasted! You can see the lees (the thick sediment) I’m scraping from the bottom of the vat so that it can be pressed off. And yes, my wine glass is in my hand. I didn’t spill a drop of that either!
As you can see, it is quite the team effort at this point in the process.
Once the Marquette was moved into the tanks where it would continue to process, the vats were cleaned and we began crushing and destemming the Noiret.
The Noiret, like the Marquette will be fermented on the skins and seeds before it is pressed. The must was lighter in color with a bit more foam than the Marquette.
What a great time we had and what a great experience this was as we got to see a much larger wine making operation. We learned so much from this hands on process. And of course we are looking forward to next year when we get our first samplings of the final product from these efforts. Thank you Tony and Deb for this opportunity!