Abnormal growing season calls for ’emergency grape harvest’ at Kansas winery


WHITEWATER, Kan. (KSNW) – You can’t make good wine with bad grapes.

That’s according to Jeff Sollo, marketing manager at Grace Hill Winery in Harvey County.

“With the kind of uneven weather this year, we’ve had some that have ripened a little slower than usual, some that have ripened a little faster than usual, and we’ve been having to deal with a little more rot than usual because it’s been so moist,” Sollo said.

The winery frequently hosts volunteer harvests on Saturdays, but the vines of Chardonel grapes could not wait that long.

“It’s been a trying year in the vineyard for sure,” Sollo said.

To mitigate the possibility for rain to cause more rot to the grapes, in turn creating less product, the winery invited volunteers for an emergency harvest on Thursday morning. People of all ages picked Chardonel grapes that after aging, will turn into the dry, white wine the vineyard sells next year.

“My wife loves wine, and we do this every couple years. We brought the kids out before school starts, and it’s a learning experience for the kiddos,” Steve Graham said.

Taste-testing was allowed, even encouraged. Sollo explains it teaches people to identify what is a ripe grape and a less ripe grape.

Grace Hill Winery grows eight different grapes in their vineyard. Click here to sign up for upcoming harvests.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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