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 harvest.  Harvest dates can’t be fully determined as it depends on the weather and sugar levels of the grapes. At harvest you will be picking your grapes and bringing them to the crush pad.  This is where the art of winemaking comes in.

However, harvest time is also a time of celebration and camp includes a ticket to the Harvest Party.

As winter draws upon us, the wine is settling into their new home it is fermenting and aging.  John will call you all together around mid March to bottle your wine.  Yes, you get to bottle and take home a case of the Tocai.

The price of camp is $795 plus tax.  It’s really a great time and learning experience.  There is even shuttle service available from the Poughkeepsie Train Station for an additional $100. (train ticket not included)

Millbrook Winery is offering my blog readers 10% off.  Just call Stacy at 845-677-8383 ext 17 and mention Hudson Valley Wine Goddess.

Just look how much fun we all had in the 2012 Winegrowing Boot Camp class.