Arrival of the grapes!
Chardonnay arriving at Atwater Vineyards. This early harvest fruit retains quite a bit of acidity and will be used in sparkling wine.
Dump in the grapes
We helped get one ton of chardonnay into the press.
Yes, he's wearing clean boots. Stomping the grapes down allows more grapes to fit in the press.
Smashing down the grapes
Usually, they don't have NYC wine buyers do this job.
Juice begins trickling out
A ton of grapes doesn't actually make that much juice.
Juice pouring out
chardonnay juice really gets flowing.
But let's go back in the vineyard for a minute
The lake helps protect the grapes from excessive heat and cold. Plus, it's not a bad view.
These grapes were planted at Thirsty Owl in May. It's awhile to the first harvest: the second year, the vineyard manages will drop the fruit so the vines will concentrate on developing strong root systems, and the 3rd year, only some of the fruit will be allowed to ripen.
Riesling on the vine
Riesling is a local specialty, and Finger Lakes rieslings, such as these at Thirsty Owl, retain a bright pop of acidity.
Serious about riesling
My kind of license plate.
Pinot noir on the hang
at Sheldrake Point. The cool climate helps Finger Lakes red wines retain food-friendly acidity and low levels of alcohol.
Gewürztraminer at Thirsty Owl
Rosy colored grapes, but they'll be made into white wine.
at Fulkerson's vineyards. This grape is also quite popular in Germany.
Measuring total acidity
In order to determine when the grapes are ready to be picked, cellarmasters test total acidity and pH, as well as tasting field samples.
Measuring the level of sugar in the grapes--this cabernet was around 20.5, and it likely won't get picked until the end of October, when it reaches closer to 22.
Pouring in the grapes
Diamond grapes at Thirsty Owl head toward the press.
The solids that remain after pressing are used in compost (though someone in town is making small batches of grapeseed oil with it!)
Barrel room at Atwater
Humidity helps prevent too much evaporation (though they still have to top off the barrels so too much oxygen doesn't reach the wine.)
Atwater bottles most of its wine, but does also do a few wines in kegs for NYC restaurants.
Friendly vineyard cow
Your cuteness reward for clicking through the whole slideshow.