Friday, September 24, 2010

Grape Stomp Tomorrow!

 I've got to start this post with a big thank you to the volunteers who helped us last weekend at the Maryland Wine Festival. We had a blast- perfect weather, friendly crowds, and plenty of good wine. There's no better opportunity to taste Maryland Wine than at this annual festival in Westminster, although it did inspire me to plan a wine trail road trip. Anyway, everyone loved Joe's Cool Red and many people wanted it open and ready to enjoy right there at the festival.

William is testing the specific gravity of the wines right now. We have pressed and crushed a lot of grapes this month and everything except the Vidal is in a tank right now, undergoing fermentation. Testing the specific gravity lets us track how fast fermentation is going. Alcohol is less dense than water or juice, so as it ferments it becomes less dense and we can measure density with a hydrometer.

Janet and Nellie picking Chambourcin grapes
Finally, the 1st Annual Harvest Festival & Grape Stomp is tomorrow! Richard is setting up the stage where we'll have two stompers going at a time. The person who presses the most juice wins a Frappe Vino wine slushie (non-alcoholic slushies available for participants under 21)! Millie's Roadhouse is bringing food, and we'll have pony rides and a moonbounce set up for the young ones. $5 entry includes a free tasting of our 5 wines. No charge for kids. Doors open at 11, event runs til 6pm. Get here by 3 for a tractor ride with Joe, but if you miss that you can still get a combine tour later. Tommy Buckets comes on at noon, and JohnE Wa2C starts at 3. Music and fun all day!

Call 410-228-1205 if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine

Latin jazz
Had a great weekend at the winery. Jennifer works full time at MaTech in Salisbury and they held a Relay for Life fundraiser here on Friday night. The Sampson/Perez duo returned (one of the first bands to play at the winery back in May!) and good music filled the tasting room all evening. Jenn's parents also came down from Pittsburgh for a visit and I think they were pleased to see the outcome after many years of hard work.

Saturday evening we held our final Sundaes at Sunset for the summer. We'll bring it back in the spring as soon as evenings are warm enough. Lots of kids running around and we celebrated Alison Layton's 7th birthday with cake and ice cream.

We also decided to go with her suggestion for naming our watermelon wine: Alison's Wonderful Watermelon Wine. Can't wait to get that finished and bottled- look for it around Thanksgiving!

Lots of grapes= lots of pickers
Last week we picked Chambourcin grapes and we've got the press running right now with a load. A couple of volunteers came out and picked with us one morning which was fun. Picking is the best part of grape growing and we enjoyed sharing that with Laura and Ed. This week we do the Vidal and then the vines are empty!

Pressing Chambourcin juice
Don't forget to mark your calendars for September 25! The 1st Annual Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp will be going on all day and we promise to offer you a good time. Check our website for regular updates and more details!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Harvest 2010

Traminette Grapes, ready for picking
Nellie is a major part of the vineyard.

William cuts bunches with a grape fork.
If you're following us on Facebook you probably already know that this week was the first week of harvest for us. Richard started picking first thing Monday morning, but everyone helped out on Tuesday and by Wednesday the Traminette was finished and ready for pressing. We also received a delivery of Traminette grapes from growers in Talbot County this week which we added to our harvest. The press ran all day Wednesday, in 3 cycles pressing 3800 pounds and producing 300 gallons of juice.

Richard and William stacking tanks
William purchased some interesting new wine tanks last month. I'm not sure what's the reason for the corners, but their main benefit is that they're stackable. They also have a different cooling system so they work well as the first station the juice goes to after pressing. We pump the juice into here where it can settle for 24 hours and then be sent on to another tank to undergo fermentation.

Hurricane Earl caused a stir regarding the corn harvest and Joe and William worked late into the night trying to cut as much corn as possible. Fortunately the storm has passed through Salem fairly mildly today with just winds and rain. Alison Layton came in the office just after lunch to announce that the hurricane is officially over.

Along with picking and pressing grapes we're getting the winery ready for several events this fall. The 1st Annual Harvest Festival on September 25 promises to be a good time. The trophies came in for the fishing contest and all the details are on our website for anyone who'd like to participate. We've signed up a young girl from 4H to offer Pony Rides, and Tommy Buckets and JohnE Wa2C have committed to performing live music throughout the day. Keep checking our site for more info and mark it on your calendar as a good day to visit the winery!