Our First Harvest!
This year, the end of summer brought us two ‘firsts’. One of these ‘firsts’ being the first harvest here on the vineyard!
The first week of September we began monitoring the grapes, specifically the brix (sugar) and acidity levels, in order to determine their quality for making wine. Thanks to the beautifully warm and dry summer we had once again this year, we were thrilled to see that our grapes were ripening perfectly! By the second week in September, the brix levels in all our varieties reached the ideal level for making wine – varying from 22-26 degrees. The grapes were ready to harvest.
However, because it isn’t until next year that we plan to be fully equipped for wine making with the construction of our wine making facility, we were left in somewhat of a predicament: We had perfect grapes for making wine, but couldn’t use them all ourselves – and because we had no idea regarding the yield or quality of grapes we’d produce, we were unable to advertise to potential buyers our grapes in advance.
Thankfully, a family acquaintance of ours is an experienced, and national award-winning, amateur winemaker: Axel Kroitzsch. We contacted him to see if he, or anyone he knew, would be interested in buying some of our grapes. It turned out that he was, and so were other members of his amateur wine-making club, the Langley Fermenters. So on September 14th we hosted the Langley Fermenters 2014 Group Crush event, which involved members coming out to our vineyard, harvesting (beginning with the Acadie, which had the highest brix level), and crushing them for their own wine-making – all while enjoying a delicious BBQ and sipping on various members’ wines. Needless to say, we had an amazing time!
The following weekend, we hosted the Langely Fermenters once again to harvest the Pinot Gris and Epicure. In addition, our entire family came out to help with the harvest, as well as harvest some grapes for our own micro batches of wines we planned on making.
To harvest, we filled the bins that had been placed along the rows…
while Laurent and Tyler collected them.
And after some picking was done…
we all enjoyed a delicious BBQ, generously prepared by Axel…
including our second ‘first’ – who arrived late this summer. Laurent and I’s first baby, Luca, who was born on August 31st (just in time for harvest!). This marks the arrival of the next generation – lets hope he also has a passion for wine!
After harvesting, the grapes were put into the crusher/destemmer…
and then into the press to collect the juice.
Lastly, the juice was put into the carboys… now, ready to make some wine!