Continuing with my interviews about harvest in the Hudson Valley I asked Doug Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery what harvest means to him.
1. What does harvest mean to you?
There are two perspectives for answering this question. There is the big picture, long term perspective: You see a need in your wine portfolio, or you discover a new grape that intrigues you. You thoroughly research the grape, and then if you embrace the variety, you order vines, prepare a field location, plant it and see it through three to four years of care to pick your first harvest. We went through this process recently, adding a new wine to our portfolio this year; but the process actually began two years ago when we discovered a new grape.
Then there's the annual, short term perspective: The vineyard work begins in February with trimming the vines. Then it progresses through tying the vines, weeding, irrigating, applying crop protectants, thinning, exposing the crop to light, keeping the vineyards mowed - all done in hopes of bringing the crop to harvest. These are all of the things you can do; then there are the things you can't do anything about. You have to hope for enough sunny days, enough warmth, not too much rain, and perhaps most importantly, no hail. Then you have the opportunity to pick something. At that point, when harvest is actually upon us, it's extremely satisfying to have gotten that far. You hope you have ripe grapes that will express all the flavors you expect for each variety. The biggest reward is to drive onto the crush pad and see large loads of beautiful fruit, ready to process. You know you've done everything you can do, and now you can realize the potential of the fruit. You did it! You accomplished it! You pulled it off! Harvest is the crescendo of farming.
2. What are factors in knowing when is the right time to pick the grapes?
Without getting too technical, it first involves evaluating PH, Brix, and seed ripeness. Then we look at labor availability, weather, and predator pressure (birds, deer, turkeys). Everything has to come together timing wise.
|Winemaker Kristop Brown|
Once the grapes are brought in from the vineyards, we de-stem, crush, ferment, wait, press, wait, rack, wait, taste, wait, blend, filter, bottle. There's a lot of waiting involved. You have to be patient, but we farmers get a lot of practice being patient.
4. Do you have any activities that allow the public to participate in harvest?
No special activities for the public to participate.
5. What events do you have for the public if any to celebrate the Harvest? (ie. Harvest party,)
No events to celebrate; we're too tired. ;-)