It’s that time of year again – harvest! Our first load of grapes hit the crush pad at the winery here in Kingsville last week after being transported from Pelee Island. We have over 700 acres of vineyards over on the island but our wine making takes place in Kingsville, Ontario.
What does harvest entail?
Since we do all of our wine making in Kingsville, we have to get all of our grapes from Pelee Island, onto the trucks which then load onto the ferry and sail across Lake Erie to the mainland. In order to get them onto the first ferry of the day at 7 or 8am, our grapes have to be harvested in the evening and into the late night so they can be loaded up as fresh as possible.
We no longer have to pick our grapes by hand since we have a machine which picks the grapes AND de-stems them for us. Using the machine allows us to work smarter and faster. Having the grapes already de-stemmed ensures we’re able to create a denser load which results in less trips to and from the island on the ferry. This also reduces our carbon footprint!🌱
In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, putting the stems back into the vineyards allows them to become organic matter which contributes to the lifecycle of the plants.
What happens after harvest?
Once the grapes have been harvested, they come to the crush pad at the winery in Kingsville, Ontario. This is where our beloved grapes become your favourite wines!
The first step in the wine making process is to check the brix of the grapes (aka their sugar content!) as well as the volatile acids. The brix level determines how the grapes will be used – lower sugar grapes make great sparkling wines and higher sugar grapes will be used in our various vintages. The grapes are then placed in various tanks depending on their chosen usage.
🍇 Did you know? Sunshine plays a big role in how much sugar develops within the grapes. Too little sunlight and the sugar will not develop enough and the grapes will be too acidic. Too much sunshine and the sugar levels rise too high.Learn more in our blog that talks about how we let light lead the way.
After the first fermentation of the grapes, red wines (and some whites) move onto what is called malolactic fermentation. During this process, the wines acquire their creamy or buttery mouth feel. Once our wine makers have tasted the wines to ensure they are ready, the wine gets ready to be bottled.
Cheers to another wonderful and healthy harvest season! You can shop all of our wines right on our website in our new and improved wine shop.