First (small) Grape Harvest

We’ve been keeping a close eye on our first Chambourcin harvest.  Since this is only the second year for the grape vines, we removed all grape clusters, except one, from each vine during early spring.  The grapes have been growing beautifully and we’ve been testing the sugar content every couple of days.  Our plan was to wait at least until Labor Day weekend….but our plans did not work out.

A huge flock of migrating black birds attacked our grape vines this morning – Jeff thinks there were thousands of them, he said they were sitting on the telephone wires as far as the eye could see, and every tree was full of them as well.  They pretty much demolished our grapes…probably ate 2/3 of what we had. 

So this evening, Jens came over and we picked the remaining grape clusters. We used our (sterilized) apple cider press to crush the grapes and then we manually “destemmed” them. We still ended up with about 17 gallons of “must”, which we will be fermenting. The juice tasted great through, just a bit tart, but very flavorful and fruity.

Everyone used buckets

Got everything ready first

Crushing grapes
Buckets were dumped into tubs

Destemming close-up
Team destemming

Final (twilight) clean-up