What Happens to Wine Grapes After They're Picked

We asked an expert at Connecticut's own Digrazia Vineyards. Which of their wines is your favorite?

Grape picking at Digrazia Vineyards! Credit: Jaimie Cura
Grape picking at Digrazia Vineyards! Credit: Jaimie Cura
I had the supreme pleasure of doing something new this weekend.

My friend and I answered Digrazia Vineyard's Facebook callout for grape pickers and that's how we found ourselves pulling and cutting vines for four hours on Saturday.

The last ones there (she and I were adamant that we would finish one whole row), we were able to ask Business Manager Mark Langford all about the grapes we'd been picking. 

First, the grapes go on a truck ride to his farm in Amenia, N.Y.

"Then I de- stem them and they're pumped into the press," he said. "The juice is extracted and then the yeast is added."

The fermentation process takes four days.

"At that point, we have a young wine," said Langford.

We were most excited to find out when the wine would be ready for tasting and selling.

"This wine could be ready in March," he said, adding that the grapes we picked will be used for Digrazia Vineyard's Autumn Spice wine.

When I found out that the name of the grapes we were picking was "Elvira," I thought, "how fitting," given that Elvira's favorite holiday is in autumn.

Langford said the next closest vineyard that grows Elvira grapes is in the Finger Lakes region.

"A lot of vineyards in Connecticut grow more popular varieties, like Chardonnay grapes," he said. 

Langford said Chardonnay grapes are romantic and that Elvira grapes don't have that same reputation but are wonderful and make for a nice, crisp wine. 

"We were not afraid to plant something that would grow well in Brookfield," Langford said, even if it doesn't have a rep like Chardonnay grapes. "You want to grow what's going to grow well."


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