Labor Day Weekend Fun

We will have live music outdoors tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon from 1-4pm.  It’s free, so come on down for a little rest and relaxation.  Stuart Johnson will be playing some of our favorite jazz tunes, so bring a picnic and put your feet up with us for a while.

Unfortunately, Sunday’s music is cancelled.  We will be processing grapes on Sunday morning, so if you are in the area, feel free to come by and watch a little of the action around here!

Another weekend idea is to head down to beautiful Caledonia, MO where you can stop in at the Caledonia Wine Cottage.  Sample fine wines, shop then eat on the beautiful wrap-around porch of an old civil-war era hospital.  Pepper and David have spent the last 9 months fixing up this treasure and are now serving delicious food and a few of the small out-of-the-way wineries in their new business.  My pick on their menu is the Pinapple Chicken Teriyaki, but the Strawberry Romaine Salad and the sandwich tray with a variety of sandwiches (made to serve 4 people) also look yummy!  The Calendonia Wine Cottage is located right on Hwy. 21.  For more information, call 573-779-1900.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Adventures in Crushing

If you had a chance to read yesterday’s post, I finished writing just when we were to process the last 1/2 of grapes for the day.  Boy, did that 1/2 ton turn out to be the hardest part of the day! 

We had been processing Chardonel grapes which were juicy enough to pump from the destemmer into the press without too many hassles.  The last crushing we needed to finish was a 1/2 ton of Vignoles grapes.  Unfortunately, due to the drought, the Vignoles were nowhere near as easy.

Right away the hose clogged and we couldn’t get enough liquid into the pump to easily move all those grapes.  So Clyde decided to forgo the destemmer and directly dump the grapes into the press, stems and all.

Now, the door to the press is just over 6 feet high and we were all pretty tired at that point.  Bucketing a 1/2 ton of grapes over our heads was not a welcome thought.  So ingenious Clyde to the rescue again by positioning the bin directly over the doorway to the press, making it easier for him to guide the grapes into the press.

Here he is in action:

Happily, all the grapes were in the press by the time I left at 6pm yesterday and Clyde was done pressing by 8pm.  This 1/2 ton of vignoles pressed out to about 80 gallons of juice – a nice yield considering the efforts.  Funny, I didn’t notice Clyde reaching for a glass of wine last night…..just a pillow!

Crushing Grapes

We crushed 3 tons of Cayuga White grapes on Sunday morning, and this morning we woke up and did it all over again with a bit over 4 tons of Chardonel grapes from Charleville Vineyard.  Here’s a few pics from today:

There’s Clyde setting up the ‘pomice’ bin, where we will throw the grape stems into once the grapes have been destemmed.

And there is Jeff raking the grapes from the bin into the destemming machine.  Each bin holds about 1/2 ton of hand-harvested grapes.

This hose is connected to a pump that is pumping the grapes from the destemmer into the press.

And finally, there is our clean-up crew!  Hee hee.  Jude’s looking for some yummy sweet grapes that might have dropped onto the ground after everything is loaded.  We have about an hour left, so I’m headed back to help with the last load now.  Cheers!