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Preparing for the vineyard harvest

Posted on 08/01/2014 by Jean Sexton

Though it’s still summer here in Western North Carolina, autumn isn’t too far away. We’re looking forward to a bit of fresh crispness in the Blue Ridge Mountains that signals the beginning of Biltmore’s harvest season—plus the chance to celebrate North Carolina Wine Month in September.

Preparing for the harvest

In every wine growing region, harvest preparation is one of the busiest times of the year for vineyards and the wineries.

The crafting of fine wines relies on cooperation and good communication between the two. A close look at Biltmore Wines—especially during harvest—reveals the benefits of such a relationship.

“Winemakers Bernard Delille and Sharon Fenchak are frequent vineyard visitors,” said Philip Oglesby, vineyard supervisor, “especially as the fruit develops on the vine. Together, we try to predict harvest yields and keep a close watch for potential problems that can be minimized with our control. We have a shared goal of providing the Winery with the best possible fruit the vineyard can produce.”

The vineyard crew gears up for the season

Philip and his crew are working now to prep a variety of equipment, including hand-clippers and flat containers for carrying grape clusters without damaging the fruit. They must also coordinate transportation of the grapes to our winery and production facility which is located across the French Broad River from the vineyard. Once harvest begins, the crew will work from sunrise to sunset, carefully gathering the ripe fruit that will become the heart of our Biltmore Reserve Wines in years to come.

Sourcing the finest fruit for our wines

In addition to our own vineyard, winemakers Bernard and Sharon also work closely with California grape growers and winemakers who help supply fruit for our award-winning American Series wines that are handcrafted at the estate.

“Our California partners are an important part of our wine program at the Biltmore Winery,” Sharon Fenchak tells us. “Bernard and I spend a lot of time with growers from around the Monterey, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino wine regions.”

Fenchak explains that the importance of these long-standing relationships with all our partner growers ensures that the quality of all our wines is as consistent as possible from vintage to vintage.

We invite you to raise a glass with us in honor of our own vineyards as well as grape growers, vineyards, and winemakers across the nation!

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