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Spotlight: From vine to wine

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    Cindy Steele from Allentown snips a bunch of grapes from a vine at Blue Lizard Vineyard recently. Steele, who is a “vine club” member at the winery, came to the vineyard with her husband after reading an invite for helpers to harvest on Facebook. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

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    Neighbor Andy Lopata picks grapes at Blue Lizard Winery in Andreas.

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    Cindy Steele from Allentown snips a bunch of grapes from a vine at Blue Lizard Vineyard recently. Steele, who is a “vine club” member at the winery, came to the vineyard with her husband after reading an invite for helpers to harvest on Facebook.

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    Concord grapes grow on a vine at Blue Lizard Winery in Andreas.

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    BELOW: Joel Seifert, left, and Brian Seitz dump grapes into an automatic crusher/de-stemmer to start the wine making process.

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    LEFT: Brian Seitz dumps grapes into an automatic crusher/de-stemmer to start the wine making process.

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    Mike Riley checks the sugar content of the mixture of crushed grapes, sugar and water with a hydrometer.

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    Joel Seifert, left, adds sugar to the grape mixture while Mike Riley stirs. The sugar not only affects the taste, but also the alcohol content.

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    Mike Riley, Cindy Steele and Andy Lopata harvest grapes at Blue Lizard Winery’s vineyard in Andreas.

Published September 21. 2019 07:42AM

 

For some people this time of year is all about hoodies, campfires and pumpkin spice everything, but for one local business it’s about something else: Grapes.

This is the time of year that the grapes at Blue Lizard Winery and Vineyard ripen. Recently employees and friends gathered at the winery and over two days harvested Ives and Concord grapes from the vineyard’s 1,700 vines.

The barrels of harvested grapes were then fed through a machine that crushed and de-stemmed the grapes into a purple, bubbling mush. After checking the sugar level, which is added to affect the alcohol level more than the sweetness, and adding yeast, it becomes a waiting game while the fermentation process occurs.

After about a week, the mixture is pressed to get as much liquid as possible. The liquid is then pumped into a stainless steel vat where it sits for months. Then it is moved to a different vat to remove any sediment that settles. This is done a few times until the wine is ready after about a year.

Brian Seitz, one of the owners of the winery, said that they taste the wine at each stage, which isn’t a bad thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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