We can hardly believe the leaves are already starting to change colour in Prince Edward County, the temperatures are dropping, and fall is nearly here. After a whirlwind summer, things are about to get even busier at the winery as harvest approaches. The lead up to harvest is just as much work, but the build-up is exciting and one of our favourite times of the year at Traynor.
So, what exactly happens at a winery leading up to harvest?
Since Traynor is an organic vineyard, there are quite a few sprays that you must stop using further in advance, so that any chemicals being used, even if they are natural, are not present in the grapes themselves by the time you harvest them. At Traynor, the fertilizer and anti-bug spray being used can be sprayed right up until a few days before harvest, and keep the grapes chemical free, which has been helpful to keep the bugs down right as close to harvest as possible. With the combination of moisture and heat common in Prince Edward County this time of year, bugs are a major issue that many wineries face leading up to harvest.
Did we mention the birds? The closer to harvest we get, the more tempting the grapes become for our friends in the sky. That’s why you see our top vineyard covered in netting to repel the birds and prevent as much grape loss as possible — however we do end up losing some grapes to their birds, but they are part of our natural ecosystem and to be expected. We also use noise machines in our back fields. You will probably notice if you visit Prince Edward County this time of year that it sounds like cannons are going off all over the place. Don’t be afraid — those are to scare birds away from the vineyards, along with a few scarecrows!
The other big part of being this close to harvest is crossing your fingers for the right amount of sunlight and the right amount of rain — something that is completely out of our control. At this point in the game, there isn’t much more the team can do to help the vines and the grapes grow, so we are at the mercy of Mother Nature to take the reins from here until harvest.
That means the team working in the vineyard shifts focus and is already thinking about how to make sure the vines remain sturdy to prepare them for winter and ensure that they can continue growing grapes in the season ahead. This includes keeping the weeds down, cultivating the field to make sure the vines get all their nutrients from the soil to survive the winter and come back strong in the spring.
The work never ends when it comes to maintaining a vineyard, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re excited to see where everything lands in a few weeks’ time and what our harvest looks like — then it’s time to get into the cellar and start making our newest creations.