A toast to the harvest at Shelburne Vineyard

The fall harvest season is in full swing at Shelburne Vineyard. In the past two weeks, the vineyard has harvested roughly twenty tons of grapes. This may seem like a lot, but there is more to come! To date, the vineyard staff and an enthusiastic crew of harvest helpers have harvested over six tons of Louise Swenson white grapes, about four tons of LaCrescent, and about 10 tons of Marquette.

We often hear the word “terroire” in discussion of grapes; this year’s harvest, in many respects, represents the terroire of Shelburne’s current crop where the soils of different fields, the drainage conditions, and even small differences in temperature have resulted in differing sugar and acid counts, which explains why Ken Albert and Vineyard Manager Ethan Joseph have harvested some fields and not others. Albert explained, “We expect to find the optimum counts on the remaining fields of Marquette and LaCrescent in the next five to six days; and when we do, we’ll resume the harvest activity in earnest.”

That harvest activity has meant Albert has had to reach out to the greater community to find ready numbers of harvest helpers. Last week’s Marquette harvest was accomplished with a record crew of over 40 workers ranging from agricultural students to retired farmers and friends, local wine and gardening aficionados, and members of the Bhutanese community.

Several harvests remain at Shelburne from this summer’s crop. The remaining LaCrescent and Marquette will be taken in the next week or so. Riesling will hang on the vine – weather permitting and barring a hard frost – until perhaps early October. And then, the season finale – harvest of the Ice Wine grapes Arctic Riesling and Vidal Blanc – will come when the temperatures drop to 15°F or less. Stay tuned for updates, and toast a great harvest with the remaining wines from last year’s crop. We’ll see the new wines from this year’s harvest in spring 2014!

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