Saturday, October 2, 2010

Indiana Grape Harvest Finished Earlier But With Less Yield

Bookmark and Share  Larry Satek, owner and winemaker at Satek Winery, 6208 N. Van Guilder Rd., Fremont, Indiana, (260) 495-9463, provides this report on his harvest.

This year's September 1 start to the harvest is one of the earliest we have ever had in the 18 years we have been growing grapes. Only once before, about 1997, we had a very warm year and harvest started in late August. Indeed, this year the entire harvest is over before the harvest even started in 2009 or 2008.

Peter Janko - Jink grape harvestImage via Wikipedia
Yet the warm, dry summer made for good grapes. All the grapes in Northeastern Indiana have wonderful "chemistry" as well as great flavor this year. The dry summer made for smaller grape berries, which makes for better wines. The sugars were great, but as we pointed out last month, the pH and flavors - the most important parameters - are wonderful. We have high expectations for this year's crop. We wish there were more grapes, but the May 10 frost damaged some of the vineyards and reduced the crop in those vineyards. Other vineyards escaped damage, or only had minimal damage. Such is the life of a grape farmer or a corn farmer, where weather has such a huge say in the final crop.

And, with the good growing season, we will attempt to do battle with the birds, deer, raccoons, and other
critters and make another Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. Our 2008 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine won a double gold medal and was named the Indiana Wine of the Year. We hope we can match that effort.

But beginning in spring of 2011, start looking for 2010 vintage Midwest wines. All factors indicate they should be really good.

-contributed by Larry Satek

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