Working Harvest at Weathered Vineyards
On a beautiful Fall morning my Dip4 buddy Susan and I drove the 65 miles to the Lehigh Valley to help Rich Weathered, owner and vintner of Weathered Vineyards on the last day of harvest.
The netting is to keep birds from eating the grapes.
Almost two tons of Cab Sav and Cab Franc were picked by about a dozen people!
The three bins of grapes were fed into the de-stemmer, which crushes the grapes and spits out the stems.
It took team work to pull the grapes out of the bins and into the de-stemmer. The photos don’t show the swarm of yellow jackets who wanted in on the action.
John, an adventurous Englishman who has lived and worked on a vineyard in Israel, is setting up the hose for the crushed grapes to pour of of the de-stemmer and into a clean bin.
A big ‘ol pile of stems!
Time for clean up!! That’s Rich and Dana’s son; like most vineyards, it’s a family affair.
Winemaker Hillary, who has a degree in oenology, is setting up to inoculate the crushed grapes with yeast. Each variety of grapes requires it’s own yeast mixture and great care is taken to keep all equipment separate so the strains don’t cross- contaminate.
Dry ice is added to control the temperature of the macerating grapes. Sulfur Dioxide is also used.
Susan is ‘punching down’ through the cap of grapes, to stir the yeast mixture into the grapes and keep the cap from hardening. The grapes have been macerating for about three days before the mixture is added.
After the yeast has done it’s thing (approx three weeks) Rich will press the grapes, removing the juice (grape must) off the skins, then the wine must goes to barrel for ageing. Weathered Vineyards just celebrated their third anniversary; Rich and Dana Weathered’s hard work and passion for grapes is paying off!