HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A lack of wind helped make Saturday’s early morning grape harvest a pleasant experience even though temperatures were in the teens, said Cindy Lindberg, owner of Grand River Cellars.
“It was probably one of the best picking seasons we’ve had,” Lindberg said.
The ice wine process starts at a different time each year but temperatures must be very cold. That usually means pickers going into the fields in early morning hours to get the fruit in optimum conditions to maintain the sugars in the grapes, area wine professionals said.
Saturday morning met the criteria as temperatures were about 18 degrees at 5 a.m. and then fell to 12 degrees a little later in the morning, said Gene Sigel, owner of South River Winery and vineyard master for Chalet DeBonne.
The process of making ice wine has been a cooperative one for area vineyards for many years, area winery owners said. A variety of cooperative relationships exist, including Ferrante Winery pressing grapes for Kosicek Winery, said Calin Lechinten, the cellar manager for Ferrante Winery.
Lindberg said the industry learned of the necessity of cooperation when they worked together to have the first Ice Wine Festival 20 years ago. Four other wineries work together to make wine from grapes harvested in a specific area in Harpersfield Township.
South River Winery, Grand River Cellars, Cask 307 and Debonne Vineyards work together on the ice wines. About 20 people, including a few volunteers and employees of the vineyards, gathered early on Saturday morning to hand pick the grapes to be used in the production of ice wine.
Several area winery employees gathered early on Saturday morning to begin the picking process but were able to work without the cold winds that normally whip through the region, Lindberg said.
At Ferrante Winery, heavy machinery was put into service to gather the Vidal grapes from area fields to be pressed on-site. Head lights from the grape pickers could be seen in the fields before the sun came over the horizon.
The grape picking process at Ferrante Winery began coming to a close around 7 a.m.. The grapes were then placed in tubs and pressed to extract the juice needed to make the extra sweet wines, a process that was completed by early afternoon.
Sigel said the wines are not the best sellers for area wineries, but help draw people to the area. “It really resonates with the customers,” he said.
(c)2022 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.