While this summer has not been the best summer for the vines, we are still getting ready to harvest our grapes next month. Between the wet Spring we had and minimal hot, sunny days this summer our grapes are a little behind schedule. But at least there are grapes on the vines and my pruners are being sharpened for harvest season.
As we prepare for the start of harvest season, I have received a lot of questions around if or how you make an organic wine. Organic wines have really jumped in popularity now with the “Green” movement and having people become more and more earth friendly or earth conscious. While we do everything possible to be green, unfortunately we are not set up to produce organic wines. However, there are some local wineries that are making great organic wines if you are interested in learning more about the process.
But before I discuss the wineries, let me give you some background on what it means to be an organic winery. In plainest terms, to be organic, the winery does not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers in the vineyard. So from the time the vines are planted to the time the grapes are harvested all natural chemicals are used to protect the vines from disease, bugs and other elements. Also, during the fermentation process, no sulfites are added to the wine and finally the bottles are rinsed with an organic cleaning solution instead of a chemical sanitizer.
As the winery relies mostly on natural fertilizers or beneficial insects to deter other bugs or birds, the manual labor of maintaining the vineyard is quite expensive. While this cost is usually passed onto the consumer, organic wines are well worth the price. I recently had a bottle of Chardonnay from Maple Ridge Vineyard in Madison, Ohio that was excellent. It was very smooth and had a wonderful butter finish. I also had the opportunity to try some of their red wine and while it wasn’t as good as the Chardonnay, I didn’t have a problem finishing the bottle.
If you are ever out in Madison, I recommend calling Maple Ridge in advance (440.829.8783) or visit their website (www.mapleridgevineyard.com) as their hours vary. It is quite a technique and process that organic wineries go through so I am sure they would be more than willing to sit and chat with you to discuss how unique they are.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.