Post Harvest Update

So often people ask us, “So, what do you do now that the grapes are all picked?”     Our answer comes with wide eyes and a long list of things going on.   So, let’s get into it. 

Harvest is behind us and after a record crop this year (67 tons of our own grapes—a phenomenal yield after a perfect summer) what we do now is as important as the meticulous way we managed the vineyard throughout the growing season to ensure another year of award-winning wines.  

So far we’ve processed the grapes, constantly cleaning to keep the winery immaculate, ensuring no errant yeasts or bacteria spoil the vintage. Fermentation (the changing of the grape sugar into alcohol) is nearly complete.  We’ve also been checking the reds to see if they’ve completed malolactic fermentation, a secondary fermentation that helps soften the acidity and increases their complexity on the palate.   This week we pressed the red grapes that have been fermenting, separating the wine from the skins and transferring most of it to oak barrels. 

 As the wines develop, and even as we began the pressing, we had to decide how to create the final products.   This year we’ve gone wild--wild yeasts that is.  In addition to our favorite traditional varietals and blends, Ethan and the vineyard staff have created a couple of new ones by allowing the wild yeasts that thrive in our vineyard to do the work of fermentation rather than applying the more typical naturally grown laboratory yeasts.  The results will bring two new and slightly different wines to our shelves in the coming months:  Wild Louise and Marquette Untamed. 

We’re also adding another new red to the vineyard family—Crimson Sails—a Marquette that’s unoaked, fruitier and an easy sipper that will sit nicely next to our popular white wine, Lakeview White. 

Ethan’s creativity doesn’t end there.   Thanks to the success of our relatively new bubbly Celestial Louise, we’re going natural, pét nat, as they say in the industry, with two new celebratory bubblies created using the champagne like process péttilant naturel.  Here we’ll bottle and cap the wine while it is still fermenting, letting the fermentation complete in the bottle to produce soft natural bubbles that will suit a romantic meal at home or a special festivity.

Finally, we’ll be producing a new wine from our lovely, aromatic LaCrescent grapes—this one made in the style known as “orange wine.”  Typically white wines are fermented off the skins, but an orange wine ferments the grape while the skins remain.  We’re also allowing the wine to go through malolactic fermentation resulting in a finished wine with no residual sugar giving us a dry white wine with a bigger mouth feel and one that pairs with a very wide variety of foods.

Keep your eyes on our website and newsletter for the release of each of these widely different variations on our Shelburne Vineyard favorites.   Some of them will be very limited releases, so one way to be sure you’ll get to try them is to join our wine club;  others will be in good supply, but stop by often to be sure you get a chance to try them all.   We can’t wait for your feedback.

Spring Has Sprung at Shelburne Vineyard

  Spring has certainly sprung at Shelburne Vineyard, and our vines are LOVING this pre-summer heat! Not a month ago, the sun was out, but our vines were bare, and now they’re rapidly bursting with life. While we’re not a fan of global warming, there’s definitely something to be said about the heightened temperatures and the amazing plant growth we’ve seen.  The stunning greenery around the vineyard this time of year has us excited for the summer months to come, and for all the great events outside that come with it!

   This year, the risk for disease has been especially low due to the unusually hot and dry weather we’ve been having.  This has helped to keep those pesky fungi out of our vineyards, because contrary to popular belief, they’re not actually the “funnest of guys” when it comes to grape growth. This weather has also been wonderfully supportive of grape blossoming and actually better for pollination overall.  The recent lack of moisture has meant less of a chance for rain to wash the pollen from the blooms, resulting in major self-pollination and some happy winemakers, as we should hopefully see a more bountiful fruiting!

   So what else is new since we were last seen shaking in our boots harvesting ice wine? Well, this weather has been so nice that we’ve been busy planning tons of outside events. There is of course our ever-popular Bluegrass & BBQ event series, our First Thursday Concert Series continuing, and now Lawn Game Nights, a new addition to our list of free outdoor public events. We can’t wait to have people join us on the lawn in this beautiful weather for food, fun, and most importantly wine! We will also be installing a new and improved outdoor bar for a more enhanced tasting experience. Whether you’re coming in for an evening event, or a mid-day tasting you can enjoy the scenic outdoor setting of our vineyard and grounds.

  Breakout your shades and Sangria recipes, Summer is right around the corner and we, including the vines, are more than ready for it!

Wine Appétit: Drunken Pasta

 I’m sure most of you know, not only can you pair wine with food, but you can cook some pretty amazing meals with it too.  We’re testing out any and all wine-infused recipes that grab our attention and we can’t wait to start sharing them with you! One of the first recipes we tried on this quest for wine-soaked goodness is a Drunken Pasta with walnuts and parsley that is sweet and savory in all the right ways.  Read below for guidelines and instructions, we couldn’t keep this recipe to ourselves ;).

wine and pasta

wine and pasta

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 3 1/4 cups Marquette
  • Salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Image source google images

Image source google images

How to make this recipe

  1. In a saucepan, combine the water with 3 cups of Marquette and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pasta and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, 2 minutes. Add the parsley, nuts, the 1/2 cup of cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and toss. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve, passing grated cheese at the table.
finished dish

finished dish

Wow, let me tell you, I could have eaten the whole thing….okay, I did eat the whole thing.  This was a great recipe to start out the segment and trust me, it will be our pleasure to test and share more with you. Check out the video shared by Food & Wine where we discovered this gem of a recipe. Wine Appétit!

Authored By: Beth Abbott

Have a wine dish to share with us? Email abbottbethanie@gmail.com to submit your recipes

and for the chance to be featured in Wine Appétit!  

Humans of the Vine: Winter Work

   For those of you who think we only brave the cold once a winter for our Ice Wine...think again.  Our staff works all winter long tending to the vines and prepping for the warmer months.  Whether it's in the winery or among the vines, our staff are facing some chilly temperatures to keep the operation going.

winter vine and vineyard

winter vine and vineyard

    While only a small portion of our outside work in the winter is harvesting grapes for Ice Wine, a larger ongoing portion of our work is dedicated to pruning.  Pruning involves cutting back the previous year's fruiting cane on the grapevines so that healthy new shoots can grow for fruit production.  Essentially, without proper pruning we wouldn't have grapes, and without grapes, we wouldn't have wine!  I shudder at the thought! Since pruning is an essential part of vine care and maintenance, that means we have to consistently send our crew out to complete this process, regardless of the frigid temperatures and conditions.

pruning outside blog

pruning outside blog

       Not only when they're out among the vines, but even in our winery this time of year, the wine-making crew can be exposed to below average temperatures.  The wine being made does best in 50-60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for stability and to prevent premature aging.  Therefore, the thermostat must remain within that range, meaning working inside even requires thermal layers. But we certainly wouldn’t force our crew to work in the cold without providing boot warmers and plenty of hot coffee to keep them going.

boot & winery

boot & winery

     Winter work at the vineyard isn't always for the faint of heart. A lot of frosty faces, chapped lips, and icy hands go into making what we do here possible, and we wouldn't be here without all of their hard work.  Ice Wine harvest is all fun and games compared to the other, sometimes grueling, winter work that our crew is oh so familiar with this time of year.

snow footprints

snow footprints

Authored By: Beth Abbott

Humans of the Vine: Ice Wine

      Leave the grapes on the vine they say...let them freeze for a while they say...they'll make delicious wine they say.

How right they are!

frozen grapes

frozen grapes

It's Ice Wine season around these parts and we couldn't wait to get our hands on those delicious frozen berries.  Ice Wine is something we've been producing here for a while given our uniquely frigid climate. Our Vermont grown Ice Wine is made primarily from Vidal Blanc grapes, field blended with a small amount of Arctic Riesling.  Although, I'll let you in on a little secret, we will be harvesting some Marquette grapes to use for a separate Ice Wine this year!

Ice-wine blog photo

Ice-wine blog photo

We sent out a crew of staff and community members at the break of dawn on a frigid 12 ̊ Fahrenheit morning for harvest. The stems on the grapes are so brittle when frozen that the crew used an interesting technique of shaking the vines to release the grapes.  Once the grapes fell into the netting, it was opened, and the grapes dropped to fill the bins below.  Ice wine harvest is quick work as we want to make sure the grapes don't warm up too much in the process!

What's so special about these grapes anyway, besides the fact that they are frozen? Well, due to the extended period of ripening, the frozen grapes harvested for Ice Wine have a much higher sugar content making them perfect for dessert wine! This sugar content is measured in units called Brix. This year the juice we harvested immediately from the frozen grapes held about 42 brix, we expect that the finished product will contain a residual sugar content between 20-23 brix.  In case you don't know, that's some sweet wine considering our other, more typical wine only has 1-3% residual sugar! Not only does the sweetness make it special, but the sheer amount of grapes it takes to produce juice from frozen grapes is about 20% more than normal grape harvest.  Out of the 1.6 tons of Ice Wine grapes harvested this year, we were able to yield only 184 gallons of juice.

ice wine and glass

ice wine and glass

          According to our head winemaker Ethan, it's looking like a good year for Ice Wine! He says a great ripening season, which isn't always achieved, allowed for an excellent development of flavor and aroma that will surely shine through in each bottle.

  Authored By: Beth Abbott