We started picking Marquette grapes on September 3rd this year! Growing grapes is a slow process. It typically takes 4-5 years before you receive a good harvest. The first few years are spent training the vine onto the trellis. Grapes will produce fruit as early as the first year, but you have to pick them off early so all the nutrient goes into the vine. We harvested last summer (vines were 4 years old), but the yields were really low. This was mainly due to an extremely warm March and then several Spring frosts; all the buds popped early thinking it was Spring, then Winter came back with a vengeance! The weather this year has been great and the grapes look beautiful!
Many people have asked, “What will you do with your grapes?” That’s a question I don’t completely know the answer to yet. We own five acres of grapes and each acre has a different varietal (REDS – Marquette, Chambourcin, Noiret & WHITES- Vidal Blanc, Traminette). I will make each of these separately and see how they taste by themselves. If they’re all great, we may have five new “Estate” wines. Otherwise, they may be used for blending. Either way, we’re pretty excited (and tired from all the picking)!
You can make bad wine from good grapes, but you can’t make good wine from bad grapes! I’m really happy with our Marquette harvest this year.