Winter in the Vineyard

Ken Albert It sure looks quiet upon first glance. The vines are dormant and will remain this way until spring. In the winery, grapes from the fall harvest have gone through fermentation and the tanks are silent as fermentation is complete and the new wine is resting and beginning the aging process.

We do have a smaller staff at this time, but our vineyard and the winery are still seeing quite a bit of activity, starting with the ice wine harvest.  It took two harvest sessions this winter. The first just before Christmas when the daytime weather finally reached the desired 15 degrees Fahrenheit But as we began the harvest, the bright sun seemed to accelerate the warming process too quickly so we suspended operation and resumed at 0 F on Jan 3. The juice from this activity has begun it's fermentation in the winery....requiring daily monitoring.

Elsewhere in the winery we are chilling several white wine tanks to 28F for 2 weeks and then moving on to the next set of tanks until all tanks receive this treatment. The chilling action precipitates the tartrate crystals from the wine, so when you put the wine in your fridge,  it won't happen there. We are also doing heat stabilization trials which involve heating samples of wine "fined" with different concentrations of bentonite (a natural clay substance) to determine the minimum concentration that will insure the wine will not become cloudy when exposed to moderate summer temperatures.

And last but not least, we have started pruning all those dormant grape vines. This activity was great fun during the days of the January thaw and a bit more challenging during the more typical January days. But our resolve does have some limits...tomorrow's temperature is forecast to hover around 0F...so you will find us in the winery.

Check out the photos below from our ice wine harvest this year!

ice wine pickers

grapes in nets

frozen grapes

ken picking ice wine

rhi carrying bins

loading frozen grapes