Orange Muscat is technically a green grape, though when it ripens it has a lovely golden hue in both the leaves and the berries.
These grapes may look a bit wrinkly and desiccated, but that's ok. They're not table grapes, so they don't have to look pretty; they just need to taste good. As long as they have sufficient sugar to translate into alcohol and all of the proper flavours, they will make a fantastic white wine!
We picked our Orange Muscat grapes by hand this year. A small crew set off to the vineyard, armed with hand clippers and small fruit bins to begin clipping the clusters off the vines.
Once the small bins were full, they would be carried to the end of the rows to be dumped into a much larger bin, and later the tractor would come along and scoop up several large bins and drive them to the shop.
We only have about an acre of the Orange Muscat, so it took just a single day to get all the grapes from it. The weather was beautifully sunny and not too cold, with a clear blue sky - a very pleasant fall day to be out among the vines harvesting.
When night fell, the temperature dropped drastically - perfect for making an ice wine! We let the bins of picked grapes sit outside overnight in the cold air, so that the sugars and flavours would condense in the berries, in order to make a sweeter juice when they're pressed off.
We'll be crushing the grapes almost immediately, but this will be for an ice wine, so we'll only be crushing in the very early morning, when it's less than 15° outside!
Stay tuned to hear how the Ice Crush goes!