Grape Juice is Also Fruit of the Vine

Grape Jellys for sale in the Tasting Room

The grape – it’s not just for wine.  We have real grape juice for sale from local Chambourcin and Seyval Blanc grapes grown by our neighbors at Oakencroft Farm on Garth Road.  This vineyard used to produce grapes for wines but switched over several years ago to fine grape juice production.  Their challenge is to produce the juice without fermenting the juice!  The grape juice is bottled in beautiful wine bottles.  It’s a real treat and a nice alternative drink for a special dinner in your home or as “un petit cadeau” when you’re a guest.

At Stinson Farms, we’ve been making a limited amount of Grape Jelly out of our winegrapes, including some delicious Tannat from our next door neighbor, Mount Juliet Vineyards.  We are loving Tannat this fall – its one the highest resevatrol grapes so makes us feel extra healthy when we’re eating/drinking it!  Look for our 2011 Dry Tannat as well as a 2011 Tannat Port in a few years.  Its important to barrel age this grape sufficiently as it has very strong tannins.

Tray below the sorting table, full of green berries, seeds, and squished berries

We also have Cabernet Sauvignon Jelly.  Rodney, our “Cellar Rat”, says the Cabernet Sauvignon jam is great on pancakes.  Mourvedre juice is in the refrigerator waiting to clear and then it will be made into jelly. Next I hope to make some from Petit Verdot.

We process red grapes by putting them through a destemer then whole-berry fermenting them in a big “T-bin” for a few weeks before they are pressed and put in the barrel.  After they are destemmed the berries travel a vibrating conveyer table, lined on either side with us sorting them – taking out any stems that didn’t come off, any unripe or undeveloped berries, or even the occasional earwig, spider or yikes! a stinkbug!  Squished berries may not make it to the T-bin.  They may fall through to a tray below the table.

Chute with extra juice from tray

There’s a cool chute that we can open and lovely juice from these berries on the tray comes out and fills a big 5 gallon bucket, which we add to the T-bin as if fills up.  After we’re finished sorting for the day the tray has lots of squished, juicy berries in it.  We don’t add these berries to the T-bin because it also contains undeveloped little green berries.  But there is enough nice juice, if I take a metal measuring cup and collect it, to make jelly.

What happens to the grapes!?

After the grapes are pressed here’s what happens to them:

1.  They go to Gryffon’s Aerie farm where Ramona’s hogs “pig out” on them

OR

2.  They go into a compost pile where mockingbirds have a chance to sample them.

Either way, they are transformed into something to go back into the soil.

Happy Hogs at Gryffon’s Aerie. Photo: www.gryffonsaerie.com

–Martha

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