It's bigger and better than ever before, if somewhat tardy. We're talking about the 2008 Palisade grape harvest. It's been a common sight during September and October: the grape varietals are being loaded into overflowing plastic bins and carted around on flatbeds behind chugging tractors all over Orchard Mesa. This blogger was privileged enough to taste fresh Semillon juice right off the press, warm and sweet, with small grape leaves swirling around inside the mug. Amazing!
Under the headline, "Grape Harvest Starts Late, Up 11.44 Percent," the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel staff wrote:
"Mirroring a season that started two weeks behind, the wine grape harvest in western Colorado finally is off and running.
“It’s going full-blown right now,” said Horst Caspari, state viticulturist at the Colorado State University research station on Orchard Mesa.
“Winemakers have been playing catch-up the last couple of weeks,” Caspari said late last week. “But most of the varieties are ready to go.”
Chardonnay and merlot should be finished by this weekend with some viognier and early sangiovese coming in next.
"Cabernet sauvignon might be another week or so off, but the syrah is nearly ready, Caspari said.
"A stop Saturday for some syrah grapes at Pat Brennan’s vineyard on Orchard Mesa found Brennan and his workers going full speed to keep up the mixed harvest of grapes and apples.
“'We have some cabernet sauvignon, merlot and riesling still hanging along with a couple other varietals,' Brennan said, standing in a shed surrounded by boxes of Golden Delicious apples while bags of MacIntosh and Galas were stacked nearby. 'We’ll pick them when (the winemaker) wants us to.'
"At this stage in the grapes’ development, growers and winemakers now are watching sugar and acid levels."
You can read the rest of the column here. And what are your harvest time experience with fresh off the vine grapes? Please tell us; we're dying to know!