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Harvest time in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Added: Nov 06, 2013
Category: News About NOTL

Harvest Season in Niagara-on-the-Lake

It is hard to pick a favourite season in the Niagara region because we have a micro climate that just gives us the best of every season!! The Carolinian Forrest zone gives us the best of the best for growing flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. But our latitude also gives us the same grape growing environment as Provence in France, Chianti Classico in Italy and Rioja in Spain! Also the California Mendocino Valley is between the 41 degrees and 44 degrees north latitude.   But we are the only ones that can claim the well deserved notoriety for our Ice Wines!

My grandfather’s farm was also in the Niagara region, although sold long ago, his primary crop was concord grapes. I have a very fond memory of my granddad teaching me how to properly pick grapes; I can clearly see his hands with the clippers in one and the other cradling grapes that were bursting with juices. Our grapes were for grown for Welch’s but Granddad made his own stash of wine too! I never recall it being used for pleasurable consumption… if you ever sniffle around Granddad, he’d give you a spool full of this stuff from the bottom of the wine barrel.. .sure cured whatever ailed you! I know concord grapes were grown on the farm, and my Mum says Grandpa also grew catalpa grapes.

This is the time of year that brings back a lot of memories, harvest season is always an exciting time as you watch the laden grape vines get relieved of their heavy load and then see them transported to the wineries. The tours at any of the wineries are especially interesting because you can see the care and treatment that goes into this early stage of the wine making process.   I like the Jackson Triggs tour because it takes you up to get an elevated view of the trucks coming in being weighed and the grapes going into the big ‘crusher’.   I subscribe to some of the news letters to the different wineries and Ravine Winery is always good to let you know what is being harvested that week!

This year’s funny growing season is sure to be a great year for some wines and maybe not so good for some of the others which have done so well over the past couple of years.

When I pop a local grape into my mouth, it brings back childhood memories of the farm. Loved the fruit, hated the sour taste of the skins.   I used to spit out the skins and sometimes targeted my older brothers.   Mom would look at me with so much dismay in her eyes as yet again, my Sunday go to Grandma’s dress was stained by the retaliation my brother’s took on me! I think that is why most of my little girl dresses were polka dots, easier to camouflage grape skin stains!!

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