The Pippin Hill viticulturists are amidst their busiest time of year: harvest season. Here at Pippin Hill, we have already begun picking our grapes off the vines and sending them off to our expert winemakers at Virginia WineWorks. The harvest season is far from over, and we are happily at work, making sure our grapes are at their best to produce our world-class wines.
2017 Pippin Hill Harvest at a Glance
Harvest Season: 3 months
Grapevines: 35 acres
Grapes: 4 tons per acre
Ideal Sugar Content for Picking: 22-24 Brix
Average Alcohol Content: 12-13%
From Harvest to Table:
White Wine: 4-5 months
Red Wine: 8 months
Reserve Wines: 18-22 months
Growing the Grapes
Harvest season is a long but certainly worthwhile process, beginning in mid-August and lasting until late October. The first and crucial step is patience. We are anxious to make our wine, but we know the secret is to wait to pick until the grapes are just right. Throughout the growing season, we closely monitor the maturation process. The fruit first blooms into tiny green buds on the vines, which grow and mature as they are pollinated. By the time we harvest, our white varietals are bright green and yellow grapes and our red varietals become plum blue and red grapes. When the grapes are finally the right color and size, the tasting begins. Our vineyard expert, Brooks, frequently taste-tests his crops and sends samples off to the lab. “It’s really all about finding that sweet spot when the grapes reach their peak,” he says. Once the grapes mature, reaching the perfect combination of fructose, ripened seeds, and acidity, they are ready to be harvested to become our world-class wines.
From Grapes to Wine
After harvest, our grapes make their way to Virginia Wireworks to be made into wine. Virginia Wineworks, located just 12 miles east of Pippin Hill, offers custom winemaking services that allow us to perfect our wines.
Take a look at our harvest schedule this year:
Mid-August: Estate Sauv Blanc, Grapelawn Sauv Blanc, Clovergreen Chardonnay
Late August: Estate Viognier, Clovergreen Viognier, Grapelawn Chardonnay + Viognier
Early September: Clovergreen Merlot + Petit Manseng, Grapelawn Merlot
Mid-September: Estate Vidal Blanc
Late September/early October: Estate Petit Verdot, Clovergreen Cab Franc, Grapelawn Tannat