Ramble On

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wisteria Vineyards Harvest - A Wrap

Here's a view of Big Meadows Mountain in Shenandoah National Park,
as seen from some of the new vines at Wisteria.
 Mary and I had a great time during the late summer and early fall getting to know some of our neighbors as volunteer grape pickers at Wisteria Vineyard.  Each weekend morning as we went over to the vineyard, we joined a dozen or so friends from around town who’d come out to pick the Seyval, Traminette, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Norton grapes.

Here's an orientation of the vineyard - the harvest
progresses more or less from right to left.
Although the hour was a little more civilized and there weren’t any stalls to muck out, I’ll chalk up the experience as another “internship” – similar to the one I had last year working with David at Public House Produce, where I learned “up close and personal” about the craft of raising excellent local food and agricultural products.     

I posted about the experience in more detail a few weeks ago (http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2012/09/scenes-from-vineyard.html ), but as volunteers we helped during the early stages of the winemaking process.  We picked, then worked the destemming/crushing equipment, loaded the wine press and watched as the juice or early wine poured out and was loaded in the casks to complete fermentation.  Then we cleaned up – and there was a lot of that, but it was fun too. 

The barn, where the sheep and chickens reside, at Wisteria.
Behind is the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah National Park.
Just as I have learned with my new brewing hobby, cleaning up is a big part of the process for these crafts.  There are estimates that it takes 20 gallons or so of water to make a gallon of wine, because of all the cleaning.  In my home brewing experience, I’d say that I probably use five gallons for every gallon I make, although I may be more efficient when I start making five-gallon batches.  But all of this effort is meant to ensure you have a high-quality, safe, and tasty end product.

And that is definitely what you’ll find at Wisteria Vineyard. 

Red grapes, the last harvest at Wisteria.
For Hawksbill Cabin readers, if you happen to be coming out to visit the vineyard, give a yell – we’re only a half mile away, and maybe we can meet you there.

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