Harvest season has finally come to Greenvale! Last Sunday, Richard Carmichael, our winemaker, made the decision to harvest the Cayuga and Vidal Blanc grapes that have been growing since March. The staff at Greenvale took on the major task of hand picking the grapes and by the end of the day had harvest 9.9 tons of Cayuga grapes and 1.4 tons of Vidal grapes.
Harvesting is the first step in winemaking and comes only after months of planning and detailed care. The decision to harvest is made by the winemaker after several factors are considered. Richard inspects the fruit for ripeness, berry flavor, tannin development (seed color and taste) and tests sugar (brix), acid and ph levels. The health of the vine and weather conditions also play a major role in how the crop turns out so must be carefully considered.
At Greenvale, the grapes are picked all by hand. Harvesting without machinery is very labor-intensive and can take a lot longer, but picking by hand guarantees no inferior fruit or loose debris on the vines will contaminate the batch. With a skilled eye and strong hand only the best grapes make the cut.
After lugging the grapes back to the winery in 1-ton bins, the grapes will be pressed and combined to make Greenvale’s Skipping Stone White. With a 90% Cayuga and 10% Vidal grape blend, Skipping Stone’s light color, balance of sweetness and acidity and off dry taste is refreshing on the palate. According to Richard, this year’s harvest is better quality than even last year, but the rest of the harvest season is still yet to be seen. With the unpredictable weather in New England there are just too many variables to make an accurate guess of what the rest of the season will bring. Keep your fingers crossed for us!