Over the Labor Day weekend, the vineyard team harvested 44.3 tons of Edelweiss at the Tassel Ridge vineyard. These grapes will be used to make Iowa White Blossom, Iowa Edelweiss, Star Spangled White®, and Oskyfizzante® Iowa White. We now have harvested almost all of the grapes that will be used to make white wines. These include machine harvesting LaCrosse, Brianna, and St. Pepin. We have a little more La Crescent to machine harvest. We’ve also hand harvested La Crescent, Brianna, and St. Pepin at both Newport Lane and Maple Woods. These grapes were taken to a locker and frozen and they will be used to make Iowa Prairie Snow®, our iced wine. Yields have been at record levels this year and the quality is generally outstanding. This is a result of good weather during the time that pollination was taking place at the end of May and beginning of June.
Recent rains and hot humid weather is a great environment for fungus growth. So far, fungus has not been a problem in our vineyards this year. But, bird and bee pressure is a big problem. We’ve seen varying degrees of damage in all four vineyards with the heaviest damage at the new Maple Woods vineyard. This vineyard is surrounded by trees that provide excellent roosting spots close to the vines. Birds take one peck and are followed by bees and other sugar-loving insects that finish sucking out the sweet pulp of the grapes. We’ve netted some vines (mainly red grape varieties), installed bird deterrent calls, used bird deterrent sprays, and hung Mylar streamers.
We take regular measurements of the grape chemistries and as soon as additional varieties are ready, we will be harvesting them. We expect to be harvesting lots of the red grapes in the coming week.