22 October 2014
By: Dr. Dave Miller
The 2014 harvest is winding down as all but the latest grape varieties (e.g. Cabernet sauvignon) have been harvested. Mid – October usually marks the end of harvest but the late spring and cool, wet summer pushed harvest later than normal this year. Varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot grigio, Merlot and Cabernet franc had a greatly reduced crop this year after suffering bud and trunk damage from last winter’s bitter cold. The small crop enabled quicker ripening but no matter how small the crop there is a minimum time required for the fruit to mature.
Many of the varieties grown in southwest Michigan are well adapted to our climate and produce good quality wines in even in difficult years like 2014. It’s amazing to sample vineyards and see fruit maturation progressing even after several days of rain. Some varieties with tight clusters like Riesling and Pinot grigio are prone to bunch rots in rainy seasons so extra vigilance is required to monitor the fruit. If it appears that bunch rots are starting the wine maker must decide to either harvest the fruit or risk increased rot by letting the fruit continue to hang and ripen. The cool weather this fall, while delaying the rate of ripening, also delays the development of bunch rots and allows for extra ripening time in the vineyard. With dliligence in the vineyard and in the cellar, the cool conditions lead to beautifully balanced acidity and great depth of flavor in the wines. Early indications are that the wines will be worth the effort!
Good amounts of hybrid grapes came in this year so there will be plenty of our Dune Shadow Red, White and Red Expression and Ice Wine. There was very little Riesling and Pinot grigio this year but good harvests in 2012 and 2013 produced a lot of wine that is in the warehouse and ready to sell over the next year. The fruit that was harvested smells great in the fermenters and will produce classic wines. The red vinifera crop was virtually non-existent this year so we will likely run short of Merlot, Cabernet franc, Syrah and Serendipity once the 2013’s are gone in late 2015 / early 2016. That being the case we encourage our customers to lay in extra of those wines to be sure you have some around until the 2015’s are ready.
We have recently released 2013 Pinot grigio and Traminette and will soon release the 2013 Dry Riesling. Stop by the tasting room and check them out. They are soooo good!
Welcome to White Pine Winery!
White Pine Winery showcases Southwest Michigan’s finest wines and warm hospitality in our lakeshore destination in the charming town of St. Joseph. We produce a range of delicious red and white wines and specialize in aromatic whites like Riesling and Pinot Gris and fruit driven reds like Syrah and Merlot. These varieties grow particularly well here given the lake effect which brings warm days and cool evenings to the vines during the important spring and fall growing seasons. Owner and winemaker, Dr. David Miller, is a noted winemaker and viticulturist with over 30 years of experience. Named after our state tree, White Pine characterizes Michigan’s natural beauty. We invite you to visit our tasting room at 317 State Street.
Fall is in the air and you can see it all around you. The leaves are turning, summer's crowds are gone, apples, pumpkins and squash appear to be taking over the local farm stands and... grape harvest is underway! Take a slow drive throught the countryside and you can smell the grapes beckoning you. Stop by a winery and you may get the chance to see freshly harvested fruit enter the winemaking process. You can smell the fermentations underway in any winery now and it is a busy time. Visit us in wine country and stay a few days to take in the sights, smells and tastes. Area chefs are preparing local produce for you to savor before heading out for a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the Big Lake. It is really breathtaking and it gives on the sense that Life is not only good, it's great! See you soon!
Wine Tasting at White Pine Winery:
Wine tasting is $5 to taste 6 wines. There is no charge for the tasting with the purchase of 1 or more bottles of wine. Groups of 10 or more should call ahead to reserve a time for tasting.
Join us Thursday, November 13th from 6 to 8pm for an evening of good wine, good food and good friends at White Pine Winery’s 4th annual Hunter Widow evening at our tasting room in downtown St. Joe. While the guys head out to Deer Camp the Girls can come down town to play, relax and enjoy your favorite White Pine wines, appetizers by Cravings Bistro, a gift bag of coupons and goodies from local merchants, a chance for door prizes and a coupon for $5 good toward bottled wine purchased that night.
$25 in advance (2 for $40) or $30 at the door includes 2 glasses of wine (more available to purchase), appetizers, gift bag, chance for door prizes and $5 coupon for bottled wine purchased at the event.
Bring a friend and come early or stay late to shop the downtown. Many local merchants will stay open late to welcome our guests!