The mornings and evenings are getting cooler. The days are starting to get shorter. You hear more and more crickets chirping. These are all sure signs and sounds that harvest is on the way—and we couldn’t be more proud of our bursting-with-flavor grapes.
Harvest is one of the most exciting times of the year at Penns Woods Winery. We’re literally reaping the fruits of our labors as we pick our precious grapes. Plus—even more exciting—this fall will be the first harvest of the pinot noir grapes we planted in 2013.
Probably the biggest indicator that grapes are nearing the peak of ripeness are those cooler nights. As the crisp fall air starts to move in, we start to busy ourselves with pre-harvest preparation. This year, we hope to start with the whites the first weekend in September. Some of the first things we do are the least glamorous but very important: we spend a few weeks in the winery sanitizing everything and checking that all equipment is in perfect working order. Out in the vineyards, we routinely run analysis on the grapes to check ripening progression.
“We spend our year preparing for harvest,” explained Davide Creato, vineyard manager and assistant winemaker. “We know it’s a lot of hard work and long days, but it’s so rewarding picking the amazing grapes that we work so hard to grow.”
We’ve got lots of grapes to pick in a short amount of time, and since we hand pick every bunch, we look to our Wine Club members to volunteer. Having 5–10 members of our Penns Woods family lending a hand gets the job done.
“Volunteers jump right in and pick grapes,” Davide added. “We provide each volunteer with a pair of clippers and set them loose to start picking. But first we explain the importance of how to correctly handle the grapes and how to clip them off of the vine. We show them how to fill the lugs—crates—and carry them in. We’ve been really impressed by our Wine Club members who volunteer!”
It’s always work and play at Penns Woods! We provide food and a few bottles of wine for our volunteers who get up early to make sure our ripe grapes are picked just in time. Interested in helping? Become a Wine Club member for that opportunity, plus other amazing benefits like pre-releases, special picks by our president and winemaker Gino Razzi, pickup parties, referral gifts, great discounts, free wine tastings, exclusive vineyard tours and preferred access to events.
Pre-harvest is in the air! Won’t you come and play a part? Salute!
Penns Woods Winery is a family-run Pennsylvania winery. With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, winemaker Gino Razzi and his daughter, Carley Mack, produce award-winning wines from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. Penns Woods wines can be found in restaurants throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. Stop in to your local state store and pick from a limited selection of wines, or visit our tasting room for the full offering. The tasting room in Chadds Ford provides an all-around vineyard experience and hosts live music, food and wine pairings and other exciting events each weekend. Score Penns Woods Winery news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter today!
-- Nina Malone
Top photo: Alexandra Whitney Photography; remaining photos: Penns Woods Winery
Go behind the scenes with the Penns Woods Winery team in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.