The very first pressing of our first crop of grapes.
When we planted the vines, we had a lot on our plate. The house was under construction, we committed ourselves to completing all the interior finishing, the children were young and very busy, and I re-entered the workforce. So….the timing was not ideal.
And even though our little vineyard graces a nice south-facing slope, we can’t avoid the fact that we are perched on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. Our winters are long, our summers are short and spring is all but non-existent. (Autumns, however, are glorious!) There is no guarantee of the sufficient heat units required to ripen wine grapes. So…..the climate is not ideal.
For the first 3 – 4 years, the deer (bless them) rejoiced in these new baby plants, chomping off every fresh shoot leaving the vines looking more like bonsai trees. When we had the resources, we fixed that problem with electric deer fencing (and a concoction of peanut butter and vegetable oil). The vines grew beautifully. When the grapes were ripe, flocks of birds descended and cleaned us out. Enter bird netting. It worked beautifully until the raccoons figured out how to un-clip the bird netting. The result was a raccoon party in the vineyard. So we bought and installed raccoon fencing. Take that! So……the situation is not ideal.
In spite of all of that, after about 8 or 9 years and a steep learning curve, voila! We were rewarded with (two days of removing fencing, netting and more fencing, back breaking harvesting, sorting and pressing by hand) several gallons of our very own grape juice……ready for fermentation!!
A very satisfying reward!