Ice: Ice on the trellising. This ice won't hurt anything as the plants are dormant. But we don't want to see this in the spring.
A good start of Frontenac growth
Blossoms are forming
Pruning in May. It seems a shame to cut off all those leaves, but that's what you have to do.
Freeze damage to some of the high ground Frontenac
More freeze damage to Frontenac
Downside: This is a very sad photo. The Marechal Foch had really gotten a good start, but the freeze just devastated it. In many cases it will have to start over and grow from the ground up.
Preparing the ground for the new row of growth for 2007.
One of our new babies, Marquette, for 2007.
Bugs: The rose chafers made a brunch of some of the Marechal Foch. They were treated to a chemical dessert.
I believe this is the Sabrevois about June 5th. It is trying to grow lots of grapes already.
The Frontenac on about June 5th. They are loaded with clusters.
Lots and lots of baby grapes. They are so cute when they are little.
Frontenac vines about June 5th.
The whites section on about June 5th
On about the 20th of July we started to notice some color changes in the frontenac.
This change in color, known as veraison, was very exciting for us.
Progress: They looked so pretty, but even more importantly, they looked like they might be something we could make wine out of someday.
Veraison: As you can see, there was quite a range of shades from green to purple, and they seemed to be changing rapidly.
We had to remind ourselves there was still a long way to go.
In another month the dark color of ripe frontenac filled the vineyard.
But they were still not ready for picking.
Waiting: At this stage they looked ready, they even tasted ready, but we had to keep checking the brix levels, the acid levels, and the ph till they were perfect. So we waited.
Turkeys: It was at this point the turkeys discovered that the grapes were indeed quite ready for their standards. Apparently they have no regard for brix levels and ph. Anything on the lower cordon wire (St. Croix, Sabrevois, and all of the whites) were largely wiped out.
Hiding: Here's a bit of Sabrevois that was hiding from the turkeys. We did not expect to get a harvest this year from any of the vines the turkeys attacked, as they were all two year plants, but it certainly gave us something to contemplate for next year.
Bees: Another problem we had, mostly on Sabrevois and St. Croix, were bees. If you look closely you can see one of them munching on a split grape. We got a lot of rain in a short period in mid-late August, and it caused some of the grapes to split.
CD collection: We hung CDs in the vineyard to discourage the turkeys and birds. I'm not sure if they did any good, but it made us feel better to be doing something.
Marquette: These are our first year plants for 2007, Marquette. They seemed to do exceptionally well this first year. We are hopeful they will handle the winter.
Unfortunately, another pest that plagued the vines was deer damage.
Deer: They didn't exactly try to cover their trail. We responded by spraying the leaves with a couple of commercial products called Deer Out and Deer Away. They seemed to discourage the deer from the salad bar...until it rained and we had to spray again.
Hooter: Our neighbors loaned us this guard owl. I'm not sure whether he kept the turkeys away, but he did seem to have a dampening effect on the flying birds. I'm glad it worked a bit because I have to admit I did feel a little silly carrying a big plastic owl out to the vineyard. I was sure the turkeys were hiding in the woods and laughing at me.
The Machine: This is the crusher de-stemmer that Bob bought on Ebay. It was in New Jersey, and our son Josh picked it up for us and kept it in his closet till we could come get it, which was several months later. Josh gave it the nickname Grape Annihilator.
Dressed Up: This is the Grape Annihilator after her makeover. She is beautiful. She got sanblasted, powder coated, got new hose, and got as many new stainless steel parts as we could find.
First Harvest: Finally the big day arrives. Jeff came down and helped with the Grape Annihilator makeover, then we (Bob, Jeff, and Linda) did the first Flying Otter harvest.
We picked about 400 pounds of frontenac.
Bins: It took about an hour and a half to fill (or mostly fill) 15 bins. These stackable bins are very handy.
A bin of frontenac is a happy thing. It has been a long wait and a lot of work to get to this point
Then you just turn on the annihilator and pour in the grapes.
Turn, turn, turn: It turns the auger which feeds them into the lower part where they are separated into the good stuff and the bad stuff.
Good stuff: This is the good stuff. It is called the crush or must, and this is the very first view of what will become the first Flying Otter wine.
This is one of our new blue winemaking barrels.
wait for it...
Ta Da! The first crush for Flying Otter.
Grape Annihilator: On the other side, the Grape Annihilator spits out the bad stuff, the stems. I don't know how it does it, but it does an amazing job. It ran through the 15 bins of grapes in less than half an hour. Cleaning up took considerably longer.
The crush looked and tasted great.
This is the Grape Annilhilator at work. You just pour them in and repeat.
And Repeat And Repeat And Repeat
Crew: The second week we recruited an enthusiastic picking crew. Bob, Wayne, Lauren, Diane, Jeff, and Sarah. (Linda with the camera)
We picked the rest of the Frontenac.
We crushed a lot of grapes.
Now it's time to take this must and press it to separate the gunk from the juice.
We put the grapes in here.
Pressing: Slowly turn the press to gently press the juice out the sides. This takes a lot of time and patience to avoid it squirting out the sides and making a big mess. Pressing goes much slower than the crushing.
Some of the crew was starting to appear less enthusiastic.
When as much juice as possible is pressed out, you open the press.
Cake: And discard the
Gunk: So far as we know there isn't anything this stuff can be used for, but the bees really liked it. Although they were having a little trouble flying after sampling. That's all for 2007, see you next year!