Only crazy people would deal with gallons of sticky juice in the freezing dark the day before Halloween - and we are definitely crazy!
Oct. 30, 2019
Four of us headed out to the farm at 3 am to start crushing the Orange Muscat while it was still cold enough outside to freeze the water in the berries and concentrate their flavours. Less than 15°F is the ideal temperature for this operation, so we only had till 8 am process it all.
For about 5 hours, we shoveled the frozen, wet, sticky grapes into the press and collected the precious juice. Our gloves got so wet they became useless and had to dry off in the shop; fingers became almost too stiff and cold to feel. No amount of winter coats and hats seemed to be enough to keep the cold out, and anything left sitting in the open air froze in minutes: we had icicles forming on the press itself!
Sunrise was a cruel joke. We finally had light to see, and it didn't feel like the middle of the night anymore, but it was colder than ever (11°!) and we had already been working for 4 hours. It did shine beautifully through the golden icicles, though. So we drank more coffee, took turns getting warm in the shop, and plowed ahead with the pressing.
We finished up around 8 am, when everyone else was coming to work, and can proudly say that we now have a delicious sweet white wine in fermentation! It was definitely worth the effort.