The wines you will taste a few months and years from now will come from this year’s harvest. While you are enjoying last year’s wine on one of our tours, viticulturists are busy in the vineyards. Will it be an exceptional vintage year? September to October is typically the harvest period for Niagara On The Lake wineries. Wineries in Niagara will base their decision on the ripeness of the grape. This is measured by the sugar, acid and tannin levels. The style of wine they wish to make will determine the sought after levels of each component.
The weather of course will also be a deciding factor. Some grape vines are heartier than others. These can go further in the season without being threatened by frost. Once the decision is made to harvest the grapes, they decided whether to hand pick or utilize mechanical harvesters. One is obviously faster than the other, but many viticulturists will say you cannot replace a human eye or touch with a machine. If a vineyard is not harvested by hand then it is done later at the sorting stage. They do this to separate healthy grapes from unsuitable or unripe bunches. Hand-picking generally yields between 1-2 tons per day while mechanical harvesting can run 24 hours a day. This results in over 180 tons of harvested grapes! Both of these techniques are used by various wineries of Niagara On The Lake.
Niagara Wine Festival
The Pick, Stomp and Taste event at the 64th annual Niagara Wine Festival is a unique opportunity to experience a part of the process. This year each person registered for this Niagara Wine Festival event will hand pick grapes and then stomp them in a barrel! The event is hosted at Flat Rock Cellars’ 80 acre vineyard. The event will conclude with a wine tasting of last year’s harvest as well as a taste of the freshly pressed grape juice. This year’s festival runs September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 & 27 and features over 40 Niagara On The Lake wineries.
If you want to experience harvest in Niagara Wine Country more intimately, we invite you to join us on an educational private wine tour. Escorted in the comfort of a Luxury Mercedes Benz or SUV, you will enjoy wine tasting at a whole new level. Guided by a true wine professional, you will enjoy private tastings at 4 wineries in Niagara and a 3 course gourmet lunch at one of the regions most beautiful up-scale restaurants. These tours are available seven days a week.
Contact us about taking a guided tour of the best wineries in Niagara on your next trip. We look forward to being your Wine Smart Guide!