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My dad has a friend--and now I have a friend--who co-owns a vineyard and winery--the Hudson Chatham winery. I was especially interested to get a look at it because I'd just copyedited a novella by Joyce Chng in which the protagonist inherits a vineyard. It was really cool to see the actual reality.

My big takeaway was that a vineyard is HARD WORK. Here is my friend pruning the vines in a cold time of year (she gave me permission to use the photo)

Here are those same grapevines this past weekend. Lush! The Hudson Chatham winery grows both white and red wine grapes, and many of the wines it makes are what are called estate wines--made totally from grapes grown on site. (This isn't true for a lot of small New York wineries, which make wine from grapes they buy in, and even the Hudson Chatham winery buys in some grapes so it can make certain sorts of wines, like Chardonnay.)

grape trellises

Here, up close, are some Seyval Blanc grapes, for white wine. They'll eventually turn a yellow color; they're about as big as the green table grapes you get in the supermarket.

Seyval Blanc grapes

Seyval Blanc grapes

And here, just beginning to get some color, are some Chelois grapes, used to make red wine. They're smaller, only slightly larger than the wild fox grapes you can see out in woods and fields.

Chelois grapes

This contraption, under wraps, is what's used to press and de-stem the grapes an old-fashioned wine press. (There is a de-stemmer/crusher, but this is not it):

for pressing the grapes

ETA: Third try; this time definitely right: Red-wine grapes need to sit for a bit before they're put in storage containers, but white-wine grapes can go into storage containers right away. All the grapes first go into the blue plastic barrels. After that, some go into the stainless-steel storage containers, and others go into wooden barrels--and some end up back in plastic barrels. Red wine almost always goes into oak barrels to age.

First the plastic barrels
grapes in plastic barrels

Then either steel...
grapes fermenting in steel drums

Or wood
wine in wooden barrels

See how there's like tenting over the wooden barrels? Nope--that's just insulation. The wine does exhale vapors, as per this sentence-->It's because they exhale vapors. But it's the barrels themselves that are permitting the exhalation. You have to let them do that so the barrels won't explode, but at the same time, you mustn't let air get *in* to the barrels, or the wine will turn to vinegar.

Here are a barrel of Athens Baco (wine made with Baco grapes are a specialty of the Hudson Chatham winery) and a (blurry photo of a) barrel of Merlot, which I include because that's what the protagonist in Joyce's novella was growing.

Baco Merlot

And here's the roster that lets them keep track of what they've got fermenting:

keeping track of what's fermenting

Here is the machine that squirts the wine into bottles. The property the vineyard is on used to be a dairy farm, and the son of the old owners saw that machine and understood exactly how it was supposed to be used ;-)

bottling machine

This machine puts corks in the bottles. The photo's a little blurry -_-

corking machine

And here are some labels.


Last but not least, the wine on display in the tasting room!

wines on display

My friend invited me to come help out with the harvest this fall. I want to give it a try!

This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/858392.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2017 06:54 pm (UTC)
I was so surprised when I first saw grapevines in the northeast--I'd thought Mediterranean/California weather was necessary. But then some thought would have recalled those vineyards in Austria, where they grew those light, sweet Austrian white wines.

I bet you will enjoy the experience of grape harvesting!
Aug. 1st, 2017 10:05 pm (UTC)
bet you will enjoy the experience of grape harvesting! --I'm looking forward to giving it a try, for sure!

And yes, although different fruits do have their limits, it's surprising how tolerant they can actually be. I would never have guessed that apples could grow in Indonesia, but apparently it's true.
Aug. 1st, 2017 07:51 pm (UTC)
What a difference a few months makes.
Aug. 1st, 2017 10:05 pm (UTC)
For real!
Aug. 1st, 2017 11:03 pm (UTC)
I wonder how the grapes are handling the lack of a summer.

(Also, did you ever see the skunk and heron pics I posted?)
Aug. 2nd, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
Not yet! But I'll come by.
Aug. 2nd, 2017 03:51 am (UTC)
In MO people talked about detasselling corn for summer spending money. In Europe it was helping with the vendenge. A friend used to say "vidange " by accident which is changing the oil in cars and probably about the same amount of work.
Aug. 2nd, 2017 08:40 am (UTC)
I've talked with people here who've picked tobacco in the summer (not a crop that people associate with New England, but it's actually commercially grown here), and it sounds like it's miserably hard (and smelly).

I'm laughing at vendenge/vidange--mistakes like that can be super awkward! A couple I remember from Japanese are biyoin/byoin (beauty salon/hospital) and otera/otearai (temple/restroom)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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