Save 10% on Millbrook Winery’s “Winegrowing Boot Camp”

I can say I am a “Harvest 2012” graduate of Millbrook Winery’s Winegrowing Boot Camp and if you want to learn about the entire process of growing grapes and making wine, this is the adult camp for you. I participated last season, learned lots and made new friends. Winegrowing Boot Camp is a six part series that will give you a hands experience in the viticulture and winemaking aspects of taking the grape from birth to bottle.  You will be assigned your own row of Tocai Friulano vines to take care of, talk to, prune, position, leaf pull, harvest and last but not least, bottling the finished product. The first session begins Saturday, April 13 from 10am to 1pm.  At this session you will learn about pruning the vines. The next time you meet will be Saturday May 18 from 11am – 3pm and there is some partying at this session.    Now you will inspect your vines and look for bud break.  Then get ready to party with your classmates at the Tocai Release Party.  This is Millbrook’s spring event and celebrates the release of the 2012 Tocai. You’ll get to taste the vintage the class before you worked on. The next two sessions happen in June and July as they are critical step in grape growing.  Saturday June 11th you will learn about vertical shoot positioning and Saturday July 13 you will learn about leaf pulling and canopy management.  Yes you have to manage those leaves.  Very crucial in the growing season to make sure the grapes get enough direct and indirect sunlight. Fall has us at...

Bottling Tocai

Saturday was the last class of Millbrook Vineyard & Winery’s Winegrowing Boot Camp.  We took the vines from the cradle to the bottle and Saturday we proudly bottled our season’s hard work. After the grapes were pressed the wine went into neutral oak pungents about 270 gallons and is fermented in those barrels.  The wine went into the barrels after the grapes were pressed until 2 weeks ago.  At that time the barrels were moved outside to cold stabilize the wine. The pungents came back inside and wine was racked into a tank.  Then put into a portable plastic tank they use for small bottling.  They bottled the first 84 cases that morning before the class came.  Now it’s the time to bottle and label the classes wine. The wine gets pumped out of the tank, goes through two cartridge filters to fine the wine.  Then into the bottle, it gets corked and put into the boxes for sale. We were all responsible for catching our bottles as they came down the line and packing them in the cases. As the first graduating class of Millbrook’s Winegrowing Boot Camp I can say I learned lots, had a great time participating and made new friends. I am very thankful it was a great growing...

Behind the Vines During Verticle Shoot Positioning

I explained to you last week what vertical shoot positioning was, and what was expected of us in the field.  Here’s us in action and what really happened. The campers move out to the field to work on their vines.  Once we arrive on Lollipop Hill, Mr. David Bova takes over for his one minutes of lime light, playing proud vineyard manager.  Well, he is after all General Manager, so he must know something.Not to worry, John comes out to save the campers from David with detailed show and tell on what we have to do the right way. Now off to see the Chardonnay...

Behind the Vines During Verticle Shoot Positioning

I explained to you last week what vertical shoot positioning was, and what was expected of us in the field.  Here’s us in action and what really happened. The campers move out to the field to work on their vines.  Once we arrive on Lollipop Hill, Mr. David Bova takes over for his one minutes of lime light, playing proud vineyard manager.  Well, he is after all General Manager, so he must know something.Not to worry, John comes out to save the campers from David with detailed show and tell on what we have to do the right way. Now off to see the Chardonnay...

Behind the Vines During Verticle Shoot Positioning

I explained to you last week what vertical shoot positioning was, and what was expected of us in the field.  Here’s us in action and what really happened. The campers move out to the field to work on their vines.  Once we arrive on Lollipop Hill, Mr. David Bova takes over for his one minutes of lime light, playing proud vineyard manager.  Well, he is after all General Manager, so he must know something. Not to worry, John comes out to save the campers from David with detailed show and tell on what we have to do the right way. Now off to see the Chardonnay...

Vertical Shoot Removal & Shoot Positioning

Another session in WineGrowing Bootcamp at Millbrook Vineyards taught us about vertical shoot removal and shoot positioning.  Our goal is to achieve a balanced vine of just the right amount of leaves to fully ripen the grapes. What was interesting is that Tocai produces sterile shoots.  Shoots that have no fruit on it.  The first thing to do when looking at your vines is to pull off the sterile shoots.    A perfect vine will have 20 shoots with fruit, 10 on each side.  (You might have to go to a perfect world to find the perfect vine Once we get rid of the sterile shoots we need to look around the base. We had to pick the three strongest shoots and pull the rest.  These renewal shoots are what we will use next year. Lastly we had to clean up the overlaps where to make sure all shoots were happy and had enough space. Flowering Chardonnay We then walked over to the Chardonnay vines to see them flowering. During a typical year, Chardonnay doesn’t usually begin to flower until around June 14.  This is really early, but considering we had bud break mid April, timing is...