It’s been a busy few weeks! Harvest is almost officially over. We are picking the last of the grapes tomorrow at our Leaser Lake Vineyard in Kempton, PA. It was a lot of hard work for me laying around out there in the hot sun and rainy days! But somebody has to provide the moral support and a cute guy like me is good at that job. I’m sure I’m not as tired as those who were actually harvesting the grapes, though. The grapes look good and Dad (Joe, winemaker) is pleased with the results.
Oh, and I’m happy to report that my health has significantly improved! Thank you to everyone for all the good vibes and healing energy. It’s really helped and meant a lot to all of us. My family was pretty shook up over the whole ordeal. Me, too! My back legs still get the better of me sometimes, especially on stairs, and if I play too rough, but overall, I’m quite happy and healthy. I have to stay on medication most likely for the rest of my life, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to still enjoy everyone’s company and yummy treats. I’m a sucker for a good belly rub and a dog bone.
The leaves are changing, the weather is cooler, but the deck is still open to view the beautiful fall foliage. It’s the perfect time to bring a picnic, have a glass of wine, and lounge on the deck taking in the view. Most likely I’ll lounge with you, too, especially if you have food (that I’m not supposed to have, but who will tell? Not me!).
I have to tell you some fun news! We have a new tasting option at the winery! Our normal tasting is $5.00 per person for 5 tastes of wine of your choice and the $5.00 is credited towards a wine bottle purchase. Now, you can opt to pay $7.50 per person for 5 tastes of wine of your choice, AND receive a full-size stemless BMV logo souvenir glass to keep, plus you still get $5.00 credited towards a wine bottle purchase. Pretty cool, huh?
I’m excited to welcome two new sales staff, Rob Jacobus and Tacy Schuler to BMV full-time! I adore them, and I hope you do, too! Make sure to say hi if you see them. Rob is often at Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tacy is frequently at the winery on the weekends, but you will see her out and about more soon!
Let’s see…what else should I tell you about at BMV? Kat Collins, our Social Media & Office Manager, was recently interviewed by the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail for their blog. Check it out here!
We have several more festivals to go before the end of the year…Bear Creek Harvest Festival, Montage Mountain Festival, Cider & Wine Festival at Coca-Cola Park, and more! Say hi to Virgil Cardamone if you see him at the festivals. He’s always rockin’ it out there for us and much beloved by our customers and me.
I also should tell you the October is International Merlot Month! As you know, we at BMV LOVE Merlot. It’s one one of the first 5 types of grapes that we planted when we started in 1986 and now one of our signature wines. Our current vintage, the 2011 Merlot, is an elegant, Old World style merlot that has rich black cherry notes, earthy, and spicy aromas and flavors with a long, supple finish. Dad says it’s complex, but approachable. Got a juicy steak or cheesesteak? You’ll want this wine. Celebrate Merlot with us! Post your pictures of our BMV Merlot and tag us in them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Use the hashtags #MerlotMe and #bmvlove.
Well, I could ramble forever…I’ll save some stuff for my next post. I hope to see all of you at BMV soon! Don’t forget to bring me a dog treat. I’ll be your friend for life. Okay…I’ll be your friend regardless, but the dog treats help.
It’s that time of year where harvest is starting to take place at Blue Mountain Vineyards! Tomorrow, we pick our first grapes for Harvest 2016! We’re starting with Vignoles, then on to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It’s back-breaking work as we harvest all of our grapes by hand on over 50 acres. Harvest usually takes about 6-8 weeks as the different grapes ripen at different times. In the Northern Hemisphere, harvest is usually between August and October.
Ask any vintner what the most important day of the year is and he will say harvest day. An entire year’s work comes down to the grapes’ ripeness on that one day, for the winemaker has to harvest when they have the ideal sugar content – not too sweet, not too sour; the perfect pH – not too acidic, not too tannic; and the maximum flavor development for the varietal – not vegetal, not sickly sweet.
One of the questions we asked the most is “How do we know the grapes are ready to be picked?” There are technical ways such as measuring sugar, acid, and tannin levels with equipment, such as a refractometer. But with many years of experience, Joe, the winemaker, also knows by the color, feel, and taste of the grape.
COLOR: Ripe grapes have a rich color, changing from green to near-blue purple, deep red, or crisp white, depending on the varietal, as they ripen.
FEEL: Ripe grapes lose a bit of firmness when they ripen, and pop with juice when squeezed. Unripe grapes usually shrivel softly and dribble juice when squeezed.
TASTE: Ripe grapes have developed their full varietal flavor – the flavor the varietal is known for – when they are ready to harvest. For instance, when you taste a ripe chardonnay grape, you experience crisp melon, grass, and a touch of lemon. An unripe chardonnay grape, however, might taste a bit acidic, lightly sour, or overly tannic from underdeveloped sugar content.
The date of harvest is rarely ever the same from one year to the next, so winegrowers must call it as best they can. Pick too early, and tannins may be “green,” or bitter and underdeveloped. Pick too late and, along with the rising risk of fall rain or hail destroying the crop, the sugar levels may get too high, resulting in a flabby, unbalanced wine.
Finally, the style of wine being made also influences the time of harvest. In sparkling wines, high acidity is desirable, so the harvest is early. In dessert wines, by contrast, it’s the sugar that counts and, thus, a late harvest.
Okay…enough with this. Let’s get picking!