Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What grapes from where and when?

So we are pondering our choices for the fall grape harvest. Like most wineries, we do not have our own vineyards, so we seek out vineyard owners and see what grapes they expect to have for the upcoming harvest.

Small wineries like us face the most difficult challenge. We do not have the capacity to buy the whole production of a typical vineyard, so we are often there to ask for a “ton or two” of grapes. We are often called by vineyard owners at the last minute, “We’ve got some extra…” and we appreciate that.

Our own press/crush facilities are small, so we prefer to buy juice for white and fruit wines to simplify the process. Red grapes for serious wines are still necessary, although there are some “cold press” wine-juice producers doing an admirable job of extracting color and complexity in juice form.

When all is said and done, a number of our sweet wines are made with straight juice from juice-suppliers who do a great job of providing excellent quality products at good prices. There are very few wineries in Indiana who do not buy some juice from one of the numerous outlets, although we all prefer to buy locally grown fruit.

What does that mean for the consumer? It’s a fair comparison when you look at buying vegetables or meat or even pasta, there are many sources for these menu ingredients. Some cooks prefer certain suppliers products to get the desired outcome (been watching the Victory Garden too much?). Other chefs give us excellent entrees with ingredients from our local market. This means its up to the consumer to decide what’s important when they make a wine buying decision.

What decisions are we pondering at the Oak Hill Winery this year? Watch here for our next posting…

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