Last month we received our Manufacturing License, which means that this year is our first REAL harvest where we are able to keep all of our grapes for us and us alone, in order to create a beautiful wine to bottle and begin selling next summer. It has been a huge learning curve, especially for Laurent, figuring out how to use all our new equipment, but we (HE) did it!
So, on August 27th, we had our very first harvest. With the help of family, some of whom traveled quite the distance to be here with us (like Laurent’s parents who came from Belgium and my Aunt Wendy from California) and friends, we harvested two varieties to make our sparkling wines. With the Epicure, we intend to make an off-dry sparkling and then with the L’Acadie, we will blend with some of our Seyval to make a brut sparkling.
Duane Storey, a local friend and mutual travel-lover, brought his photographic talents to capture this day for us. Here is a selection of his pictures for your viewing pleasure!
We celebrated with a lunch and some wine out on our outdoor crush pad, where my grandpa (John Giesbrecht) joined in on the festivities.
and then after some more work…
we ended with champagne, a BBQ, and more wine once all was done.
We are so grateful for all the work everyone put in to this harvest! And especially, Laurent’s parents (Lina & Jean-Marc), who deserve a special thank you for traveling all the way from Belgium to be here for us to help. A big heartfelt merci/thank you to all!!
Since we first broke ground in early spring, we have come a long way with the building of the winery. My Dad (Barry) has worked endlessly these months, doing all the contracting, as well as installing the winery drainage, installing the ceiling, working with Laurent to install the tank glycol cooling systems, and the list goes on and on. Although we have all been helping out in our own ways, my Dad has certainly carried the entire responsibility of our winery construction on his shoulders (including all the stress that comes with ensuring it is done on time and that we are ready to go for harvest!).
Since the initial framing was done, we poured a concrete floor over the old riding arena. We took that opportunity to imprint the wee little hand of Luca (a potential future third generation wine maker!).
Then doors and windows were installed and we gave everything a nice coat of paint…
and along with all the other equipment like a pump, filters, a crusher/de-stemmer, press, and a bottling system, our tanks arrived! Our good friends, Katie and Francesco (visiting us from Piemonte, Italy) helped us move the tanks in place… and just in time for our final Manufacturing License winery inspection that same afternoon! I’m happy to announce that we passed inspection and are now entitled, as a land-based winery, to produce and sell our wine.
With everything in it’s place, and all the equipment scrubbed, washed, cleaned and hooked up, we are FINALLY ready for harvest!!