Locals brave cold to pick grapes at Shelburne Vineyard

D-3-B-Ice-Wine-Harvest-2-SFifteen cheerful locals braved the 10-degree weather last Thursday at Shelburne Vineyard’s Meach Cove planting site and harvested two tons of Vidal Blanc Ice Wine grapes. “The picker’s spirits were high, helped by the hot coffee and the hot soup,” said Vineyard owner Ken Alpert. “It was a fun outing.” The grapes are now in the press at the winery. Pressing goes very slowly on the semi-frozen grapes; it will be a couple of days of coaxing the juice out of the clusters before the Vineyard is ready to start fermentation. The cold weather works to separate the sweet from the non-sweet grape juice. Juice with high sugar concentration is not fully frozen, even at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but the water content of the grape is frozen solid. The winery carefully presses the juice, as to not melt the pure water content ice. The result is grape juice twice the sweetness as normal grape juice. The goal is to have the sweet dessert wine from this vintage at the bottling machine by early summer.

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