Fresh Grapes from Niagara

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What a Summer.

Back in mid April I visited Niagara to do some ‘research’ with friends. We had planned the trip months before, we figured it would not be super warm – but spring temps would be in effect. Were we ever wrong. It was an icy, snowy, windy weekend that almost shut down the Skyway. The winemakers we spoke to were fairly concerned about the delayed start to the season – they were already 2-3 weeks behind schedule. The ice storm was the proverbial cherry on top.

The day after the ice storm at a vineyard in Niagara on the Lake

The day after the ice storm at a vineyard in Niagara on the Lake

Fast forward five very hot months later and all concerns have been erased. It has been an incredible year for growing grapes. The consistent heat has concentrated sugar in the grapes, intensified tannins, and lowered acidity. This is going to be a tremendous year for Niagara wines. One of the hidden benefits of the delayed start, is that there was no early growth that was squashed by a late frost – say in mid-April. After that weekend temperatures began to climb and the growing season started without further hiccup.

Let’s Talk About this Years Grapes

For the last number of years we have brought in Cab Franc grapes from our local partners in Niagara. We have made the wines on site, and sold the grapes to local home winemakers. This year, instead of Cab Franc, we are bringing in a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cab Franc. This blend is traditionally called a Meritage – so that is what we are going to call it!

We’re very excited to be making a Meritage. It is one of our favourite blends, and Ontario wineries have been making this style for decades. The blend of all three grapes makes a well balanced, full bodied wine with notes of ripe fruit, blackberry, and plum. This will be a fuller bodied wine than a straight Cab Franc and will have excellent ageability.

Pricing

Just like last year, we will have a very limited quantities of grape available this year. We will be able to offer 500L on a first come first serve basis.

$124.50/14 bottle batch made in store

$94.90/11L (15KG) take home must (home winemakers) – Expected to arrive in early November

How to order?

Visit us in store, or give us a call (519-824-1624), email, message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even leave a comment on this post and we can reserve your order. When the grapes arrive we will contact you and have you come in to pay for the grapes, and pour the yeast (for wines made on-site)

When will it be ready?

We are expecting to get the grapes in early November. Between fermentation, pressing, cold stabilization, and filtration; we should have the wine ready to be bottled for late January to mid February. We’ll know more after we have fermented and pressed the grapes.

How we’re going to make it

Pressing down the 2017 Cab Franc. We do this twice a day for proper maceration.

We’ll be making the Meritage just like the Cab Franc last year.

Sometime in late October to early November we will be receiving the grapes from our partner in Niagara. We’re then going to crush the grapes. Followed by measuring the sugar, pH, and acid levels. If anything is a little too high or low we can make some adjustments to ensure a great starting product.  We will then begin to ferment it.

Twice daily we will be pushing down the cap. This allows for proper thermal and alcoholic maceration of the fruit, as well as prevents any potential spoilage. It’s also a good work out!

Once the wine has finished fermenting (7-10 days) we then need to press the grapes. We’re going to remove every little bit of moisture from them until they look like raisins.This will lead to increased tannins and alcohol. Once the grapes have been pressed, we will have finished wine. But, it will be in pretty rough shape. It needs to be stabilized and rest a bit. We’ll hold onto it for a couple of months to let it age and settle.

 

Sometime in the new year (Late January – February) we will do a final racking followed by filtration and then it will be ready to be bottled!

 

Pre-orders start now! You can call, email, message us on Twitter and Facebook to reserve your Cabernet Franc.
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