"Green Acres" it ain't, but we love owning and visiting the Hawksbill Cabin, near Stanley and Luray, Virginia, and a wealth of outdoor activities, including: the "World Famous" Shenandoah River, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, Luray Caverns, and Massanutten Resort. From time to time we'll post about other stuff, too.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015
Pressing the Vidal at Wisteria
These are Norton grapes - they are a few weeks away from picking.
On Sunday morning I went over to Wisteria to see if I could
lend a hand on wine making chores. I
knew that Moussa had received a ton of Vidal grapes on Saturday, and that they
had been crushed that evening. For white
wine varieties, after they are crushed the get stored in the cellar under cool
temperatures to suspend the yeast action.
Moussa uses the Vidal as a blending wine in several of the
bottles he produces, notably a summer Rose.
On Sunday our goal would be to press the two tubs of grapes into juice.
So, after Moussa had showed me around the Merlot progress,
we set up the wine press and began loading in the Vidal. By this time, the other volunteers were there
to pitch in, so we made pretty quick work of getting the press filled up. It wasn’t long before the pure sweet juice
started pouring out of the press and we took turns sampling it.
One of my favorite parts of all of this is what happens
after the press. You're left with a "cake" of spent grapes that
has an interesting texture and structure - it can stand on its own, as shown in
that last photo. Will's in the back, taking a photo.
Here's the "cake" of spent Vidal grapes.
We did this twice and completed our work on the ton. I
think we got about 800 liters of juice from the grapes. They're in the
cellar now, coming up to proper fermentation temperatures before Moussa will pitch the yeast.
As we were completing the second batch, tourists were
starting to arrive to visit the tasting room.
The cake is such an interesting part of all of this that several of them
came over to the crush pad to have a look at it – by now all the volunteers are
fairly well versed in wine making and have a lot to say about the process, so
there were some fun conversations taking place, standing around the spent
Next spring the Vidal we pressed will appear in bottles - as
I mentioned, probably blended into a Rose. When that happens, I predict that
Mary and I will enjoy some with a nice grilled pork roast!