Friday, August 3, 2012

Late-summer at Pinnacle Ridge

Saturday, August 4 from 2 - 5 p.m.

During the Saturday portion of the Berks County Wine Trail's Christmas in August event the third installment of Pinnacle Ridge's Summer Concert Series  will be taking place.  We thank the Wallace Brothers Band for performing last month, but if you missed them, there is still time to sit back and relax with great tunes and cool wine.  

We are happy to have The Hannah Violet Trio performing on August 4th!  This very talented musician, singer-songwriter plays the fiddle, guitar, piano, and sings her heart out!  She has toured through out Europe with the American Music Abroad Choir and sang in Austria and Switzerland.  Hannah has also created a Music Therapy program for Heartland Hospice in Reading.  She is currently back in the studio of Jim Heffernan, dobro player/guitarist who toured with Brad Paisley and Joe Diffie, to record her upoming CD "Violet Sky". Check out Hannah's blog and music schedule at

There is no cover charge for this event.  Chef Ben Underwood will again have his delicous creations for sale and of course there will be Pinnacle Ridge wine available for purchase.

Upcoming Music:

September 8 from noon -5 p.m. - Blues in the Barn - The Wallace Brothers Band - Mighty Manatees -

September 9 from noon - 5 p.m. - Blues in the Barn - James Supra Blues Band - Kelchner Brothers Band -

October 6 from 2 - 5 p.m. - Jack Murray and the Midnight Creeps


We recently released a variety of new wines in the past month including our 2010 Chambourcin and 2010 Syrah. The new 2011 white offerings are crisp and fruity. The 2010 Veritas and 2010 Chambourcin Reserve will be released in either late August or early September. These are exciting wines and are definitely worth the trip to the winery.


As the summer lumbers along, the days get shorter, the nights longer, those lazy afternoons with sweltering heat, katydids, cicadas, frog sounds. A delicious melody indeed. During this time of year activity in the vineyard also starts to slow down. The vines begin the process of focusing on ripening fruit. The green shoots start to turn brown and harden. The shoot tips stop growing. Canopy management activities stop. Basically we wait for the vines to ripen their crop. So it’s a time for the winemaker and other winery personnel to kick back and relax, right? Wrong!

This is the time of year that we start to think very hard about the upcoming harvest. Harvest, of course, is the most active time of the year at any winery. Everything has to be operational - the destemmer, crusher, press, clarification equipment, pumps, refrigeration equipment, hoses, tractors, etc. Everything has to be clean and ready for the receipt of this year's vintage. Do we have enough tank space for the whites? Are there enough bins for fermentation of the red grapes? Do we have enough barrels? Have we bottled everything that we have to in order to get through the fall without running out of wine? Do we have enough supplies, yeast, enzymes, and bacteria? It's a complex process planning for a small winery that produces over 20 types of wines. There are many small lots of grapes that are treated as individual batches until it is time to blend. We will be processing something like 80 tons of grapes and most of the batches are no larger than four tons. So we will end up with over 30 "batches" of wine in the cellar during harvest. It can get very confusing remembering what is what and where everything is. If you get behind on record keeping, it's a lost cause.  What yeast strain for Dry Vidal? What enzymes for the new Chambourcin?

It is also the most exciting time of the year. Every vintage is optimistic at this point in time and, as a winemaker, looking at the New Year is always a glass half-full (half-full of what you might add). I personally get very optimistic and fired up to tackle any problem thrown at me. I can't allow myself to get beaten down by the sheer magnitude of the harvest. I have to keep going, I have to get up, spread the lugs, meet the pickers, and orchestrate the picking so everybody is harvesting the right vines, in the right way. If there is rot, it must be picked out in the field. It all just has to be done - no excuses, just get it done.

Oh, and some of you might have noticed a rather large (6' 2"), young man running around the winery the last few weeks. My son is visiting while on break from his studies in enology (winemaking) at California Polytechnic State University (otherwise known as Cal Poly) at San Luis Obispo. He has to head back soon so I don't get to abuse him this harvest. Two years down and two to go.

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