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.
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.
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.
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.
Authored By: Beth Abbott