Saturday, December 06, 2008

There Are Still Grapes Out There

The harvest ended in early October, but all the grapes were not picked. As we've learned, to get the precious A.O.C. designation, the vintners are only allowed to get so much juice out of each hectare of vineyard.

Unharvested grapes against a stone wall.

So, before the harvesting starts, they go out and prune some the grapes that don't look so nice. Those fall to the ground and turn to compost; Ken has taken to picking some of them up to make jelly.

But even after the harvest, there are some grapes that stay on the vine for one reason or another. Mostly I see them on vines that have been abandoned. Whole sections of vineyard sit out there year after year with no tending, and they start to revert to a kind of wild state. There are many grapes, but they're small and so are the bunches. These just wither into raisins and rot and/or they are eaten by the wildlife.

The ignoble demise of a bunch of grapes.

There are also some grapes that are planted against the wall of an equipment storage building that don't get picked, except by hungry hikers as they walk by and grab a few tasty bites in late summer.

And I can tell you from experience that wine grapes, at least the varietals grown out back (sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, côt, gamay, pineau d'aunis, and chenin), are quite tasty when ripe!


  1. They look like good candidates for ice wine! One of our specialties in Chautauqua and Finger Lakes. Which also carries with it a precious label being so rare.

  2. Would love to see you and Ken (as Lucy and Ethel) stomping those grapes to make some wine!

  3. We have friends in Eastern Victoria with a small vineyard. I love eating the grapes (when they're not looking ;p)

  4. rachael, some of the grapes out there are made into a late harvest sweet wine. Depends on the year. I've never had the NYS ice wines - and being from upstate myself I would love to try them one day.

    cheryl, we'd have some 'splainin' to do!

    evol, one of the growers told us to help ourselves every now and then when we walk the dog!

  5. I love love love the smell of over ripe grapes on the vine. It reminds me of my childhood playing in my grandparent's vineyard. Thanks for bringing back to mind these precious memories.

  6. muzbot, me too! So musty... It must have been fun to have grandparents with a vineyard. Did they make wine, too?


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