Picture this. It’s a peaceful Monday morning, and we’re out at the ISC Vineyard on the hill at 6 a.m. The temp is a cool 57 degrees outside, and there’s steam floating off the Illinois River. The grass is dewy, and a mild fog covers the vines for as far as the eye can see. So, what’s going on here? Well, this is surely an exciting day for the books – we’re harvesting our Frontenac Gris grapes! The 2021 harvest officially begins.
One of the most important decisions for a winemaker is knowing when to harvest the grapes. In the northern hemisphere, harvest time typically occurs in late summer, when the grapes reach their full maturity. Beginning in late July or early August, the grapes begin undergoing a process called veraison, where the grapes ripen and change color.
Winemaker Bubbly Wenzel takes great care to watch and wait for the perfect balance of sugar content and acidity for crafting the perfect sparkling wine. After close monitoring, he firmly decided that Monday, August 16th was the ideal day for our 2021 ISC grape harvest.
When harvest begins, it’s all hands on deck. Our awesome grape pickers spend the day handpicking and quickly filling up bucket after bucket of ripe, luscious grapes, as our truck stands by to transport them down the hill for production.
We handpicked grapes for hours, as the sound machines in the vineyard relentlessly scared off any critters hoping to get a taste. The careful and meticulous handpicking is one of the key steps in producing the highest quality ISC sparkling wine. While this process is undoubtedly hands-on and labor-intensive, it is well worth it for crafting the finest bubbly one can hope to get.
By the end of day one, we picked approximately 11,000 pounds of these delicious grapes! And guess what – we’re still not finished. These grapes will be used to make both our ISC Brut and ISC Sec.
From the fruit on our vines to the bottle of bubbles in your hand, rest assured that we’ll never stop obsessing over our craft. Stay tuned for the next steps in our 2021 Harvest!