Herbie the Hawk (actually, we have five of them stationed in our vineyards) spends his days flying around. All he needs is a wind of 2–3 miles per hour. Our present all-natural hawk can’t quite figure out what to make of Herbie. He has checked Herbie out but has kept a respectful distance.

We are starting to watch the grape ripening process very carefully now. We’ll be picking grapes of each variety for analysis in the lab and we will also be tasting grapes for flavor development. If we don’t like the taste of the grapes, we probably won’t like the wine they make either.

We will also be picking certain varieties of grapes and sending them to the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State for YAN analysis. YAN is Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen. The yeast we use to ferment grapes requires a certain amount of Nitrogen as a nutrient as the yeast cells multiply and then start consuming sugar. We will be providing yeast nutrient which contains some Nitrogen, but we need to supply just enough and not too much. So, we need to determine how much Nitrogen the grapes have now, so we can adjust our additions accordingly.

In most years, Brianna is ready to harvest first, followed by Edelweiss and then Marquette. We will see if that happens this year.

We are getting all of our Macrobins down and washing them, getting our scale calibrated, moving cellar harvest equipment from our warehouse to the Winery, and making sure our equipment is ready to rock and roll.