We are almost there. Within a week or so we will be picking and pressing our first vineyard block of grapes, Pinot Noir destined for making sparkling wine. The Chardonnay that we will be blending with the Pinot Noir for this wine is lagging a touch behind, as it was in 2009 when we made our first traditional method sparkling wine. The skins and seeds are starting to taste right, so hopefully the rain holds off for a few days. At this time of the year things can change in a heartbeat out there, and the last thing we want is to wait too long on these. My biggest fear for the grapes destined for sparkling wine would be to end up with too low acidity (making the wine fat/flabby) or too high sugar (making the final wine too high in alcohol).
The last week or so has been busy, topping up the red barrels from the 2010 vintage, cleaning equipment to get ready for this year’s harvest and most importantly checking out how the grapes are ripening. The vineyards are looking in great shape out
there, meaning if the weather co-operates we could be looking at another very good vintage in Niagara. As the days get shorter, this is when the fun really begins for winemakers. Long days (and nights), keeping very busy with juggling what is going on in the vineyard, on the crush pad, and inside the winery. Fall is by far my favorite time of year.
From our cellar this week: Our 2010 Estate Bottled Riesling – a wine built to celebrate the end of summer, and a reminder of the great potential of what is coming out of our vineyards.
Highlight of the week: A pre-harvest tasting with the Lowrey family, one of the grape growers that we work with, to talk about this year’s harvest and taste the wines we made from their vineyard last year. It is always great to see their enthusiasm to grow the best fruit they can.
“Can’t live without” item of the week: Scotch-Brite heavy duty scouring pads. Pre-harvest means a lot of cleaning - these are not just great for the kitchen, they do a great job on our stainless equipment!
Something to take the mind off harvest: Jeb Corliss, “Grinding the Crack” … very cool.
On deck in the next week: Looks like hand-picking (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) for making a traditional method sparkling wine will both be within the next week, and lot more cleaning/prep work for the rest of the harvest for making still wines.
Follow along this blog on a weekly basis, where I plan to tell you about all the fun we’re having on the crush pad trying to make great wines!