Harvest is finally upon us. Well, not us exactly – our grapes won’t be mature until next year – but certainly upon our friends and neighbors in the wine grape industry. After two tough years of wet, cool weather and low grape yields, area growers crossed their fingers that this year’s warm, dry summer would mean good yields and an on-time harvest. As all their hard work finally comes to fruition, we at Gantz Family Vineyards are enjoying witnessing the intensifying signs of harvest:
- We've noticed it’s gotten harder to get people on the phone. They’re out gathering equipment, scheduling their crews and anxiously checking the sugar content of their grapes, hoping the rains will continue to hold off until the fruit has been picked.
- Driving around our area, we’ve seen workers heading out with truckloads of empty harvest bins when the winemaker says, “Pick now!” That second when the sugar levels are exactly right could come at any time and picking is often done in the middle of the night when it's cooler to preserve volatile flavor compounds. For the winemakers, harvest is a juggling act to be sure they have steel tanks, wine barrels, fermenting equipment and chemicals available to process the grapes once they are delivered.
- Ads for available grapes for both sale and purchase are popping up everywhere.
- Vineyards are beginning to show some browning. Too much water will allow the grapes to swell. The farmers are withholding water from the vines to keep the grapes smaller and richly concentrated. We here at Gantz Family Vineyards are still watering as we work on strengthening our teenage vines for next year’s grapes.
Next year, we’ll be the ones fitfully checking our sugar levels and suffering from too little sleep. But this year, we’re enjoying the contact high from all the adrenaline and thrilled to be witnesses to such an amazing event.