My relationship with wine grapes is a complex one. I did piles of research a few years ago to be well prepped for the potential day in the future that I would have wine grapes in my very own back yard. I since have become a believer in the apple culture we live in here, and am heading to Normandy in two days to glean from their hundreds of years of apple food culture they’ve got on us. I’m going to be hanging out with cider and calvados producers, tasting, and asking questions. Now, a couple days before I leave, I’m staring at ripe wine grapes in my backyard for the first time. My excitement at the possibility of a grippy, robust red grape wine from my yard has been renewed.
For the other northern viticulture geeks: this was an extremely wet year, lacking any stretches of hot weather in July/August. This was year 3, and despite brutal winterkill, a few fruiting canes put out fruit, and I let them go to see what happened. I have a dozen or so bunches. This year I’ll lay the vines down to protect them more. I’m surprised that these grapes have ripened. It was a fantastic year for mushrooms, put it that way. I’m wondering if my severe aphid problem offered a hand by de-leafing the lower third and exposing the fruit to sun for quite some time. Not sure. All I know is I’m now very excited about the prospect of next year’s harvest. Year 4.