Musings from the barrel room

Happy New Year and thank you to so many of you who visited last season. And a special thank you to those who helped with various orchard chores like pruning, picking, pressing, and bottling. It is soooo much more enjoyable with a little help from our friends!!!!

We are well into Winter chores – The last of the fruit is pressed and beginning its 10-month fermentation journey in barrels. I can hear the bubbles of CO2 occasionally breaking the surface as the yeast beasties eat lunch on the sugar of the apples and pears. I am already looking forward to tasting the varietals and blends next fall to check on progress. The Black Twig and Pippin juices were particularly nice – rich, dark and sweet as we pumped them into the barrels. Maybe some of you would like to join us in the annual barrel tastings – more on that in a Spring musing.

Clean-up and pruning has begun early due to more-gentle-than-usual January weather. The last orchard mowing allowed for checking for vole guards before the snows of February. Lori has been vanquishing honeysuckle and bittersweet from the blueberries and apples. Eric has been sawing and loping branches and suckers from pears, apples, and apricots to let in the sunshine. Friends Katie, Julian, and Carly got garlic in the ground. And we have been prepping the hoops for winter work and growing, from closing the tunnel ends to double-digging and top dressing the garden beds. We even are expanding our ever-bearing blackberries and strawberries in response to your requests for an increasingly adequate supply throughout the summer and fall.

We have just started our first blueberry wine intended as an off-dry blueberry wine. So far, the fermentation is wonderful – rich and clean with a bit of residual sweetness. It should be finished for the Spring season since it does not benefit from long-aging.

Next up for us is bottling!! We have a new Harley’s Keep ready as well as Hoppin-In and Juliet. More on that in next month’s Musing from the Barrel Room.