Lessons From An Arizona Winery
There were several highlights of 2016, and many of them came the last few months of the year. Visiting a winery the week of harvest is something I have always wanted to do, and what a special treat it was to get in touch with the owners of Carlson Creek Vineyards. I had met them the previous year at a special wine event happening at Whole Foods. I remembered their wine and knew I wanted to see this art firsthand. It also helps that I love wine...and all things food & drink-related.
Though I visited them a few months ago, the memories and lessons learned from their business will stay with me for a long time.
I was so lucky to have the winery's owner, Mr. Carlson, to arrange for me to tour their operation. The vineyard foreman, Daniel, showed me around the rows of grapes, as well as a few neighboring vineyards. Even though it was his birthday, he was working hard to take care of the vines, as they were being harvested that week.
The neighboring vineyards were also so friendly, and open to sharing their isles of vines. Daniel taught me about all of the variety of grapes they were growing, and how the harvesting is scheduled.
I learned about sugar content of grapes and how it effects the wine, as well as reasons why leaves brown, grapes raisin, and often appear to be covered in white powder. (A self-made sun-protection, did you know?)
Knowing when to harvest these varieties really is an art form and takes a lot of skill.
As we drove down the isles of grapes, Daniel would occasionally stop the 4-wheeler, get out and impart his many years of knowledge. He plucked a few leaves, exposing clusters of the grapes and I recorded some video so that I could capture exactly what he said:
"When you are starting to prune during the pruning season, it is better to have a good attitude when you go into it, because the vines can feel your energy...like, if you don't water them, they get stressed out... if you don't take care of them (from the bugs and the birds)..."
Daniel was obviously a pro, and touring the vineyards was so heavenly since there was no one around, and the sky was starting to turn over cast and stormy in the distance. As I left, I photographed the downpour far away. I sat in the middle of the serene rows of vines.
He gave me the chance to prune a cluster of grapes myself ( something I had never done) and even taste a few right off the vine. My love for farmers, and now wine-makers, continues to grow as I explore the artistry these people display. Thank you to Daniel & Mr. Carlson allowing me to learn some lessons at your winery.
Photo taken by Daniel ;)