(0) | $0.00

Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Alaina Dodds
 
December 27, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Spirit Cider Cocktails and a New Year's Day Brunch

It is VERY hard to believe but 2019 is right around the corner...no really it is, it’s in 5 days! I’ve been going back and forth about what I want to do for New Year's, how do I want to ring it in? I’ve decided that I want to switch it up this year and cook a New Year's Day brunch for me and my husband. But (here’s another twist), it will be a Spirit Cider-inspired brunch! Everyone goes the sparkling wine route for New Year’s Eve so I thought it would be fun to be bold with Spirit Cider instead. Here’s my menu if any of you want to try this too! 

Cocktails and Confessions 

Blueberry Cider Delight  

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz Tito's Vodka (or your favorite vodka)
  • Blueberry Spirit Cider
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Method

Muddle blueberries, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker tin. 

Add vodka and ice, and shake. 

Strain over fresh ice into a pint glass. 

Top with Blueberry Spirit Cider (fill the rest of your pint glass) and garnish with a lemon twist. 

Spirit Cider Mimosa 

Pay attention here, this one is tricky.... 

Ingredients: 

Method: 

Pour Spirit Cider into a Champagne flute, top with OJ and garnish with orange slice.

Voilà! 

Brunch Bunch 

Days where brunch is involved are the best days – am I right? You can sleep in, maybe get a workout in before (if you’re feeling feisty) and meet your friends for a hearty meal and a carafe (or 10) of mimosas. Then a nice long nap and you have had yourself a nice little Saturday. Sound familiar?  

What is brunch without carbs? It’s not brunch at all in my book! Here I am to introduce you to the carb of all brunch carbs...a Dutch Baby, which is a light and puffy/fluffy pancake that actually pairs amazingly well with our Spirit Cider.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

Serves two  

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 
  • 2 1/2 ounces (72 grams) all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup 
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Powdered sugar, for serving 
  • Bluberries, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving 

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Put 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan and heat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool slightly. 

Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, and blend the batter until smooth and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. 

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and immediately pour the batter into the center. Bake for 20 minutes, do not open the oven while baking. The Dutch baby will puff up in the center and the edges will be dark and crispy. 

Serve warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a handful of blueberries and lemon wedges for squeezing. 

Apple and Cheddar Quiche

Serves six (great leftover!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples (cored and cut into bite sized chunks) 
  • 1 cup Seven Apple Spirit Cider 
  • 4 strips bacon (cut into 1 inch pieces) 
  • 6 sheets phyllo (thawed as directed on package) 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary (chopped) 
  • 1 cup strong cheddar (grated) 
  • 4 eggs (lightly beaten) 
  • 1 cup half and half 

Method:

Simmer the apple slices in the Seven Apple Spirit Cider until they just start to turn tender, about 3-5 minutes, remove and set them aside. 

Simmer the remaining cider to reduce to about 2 tablespoons. 

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan and set aside. 

Brush a sheet of phyllo pastry with the olive oil and fit it into the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie dish or springform pan with the ends hanging over the side of the pan and repeat with the remaining sheets placing them on top. 

Toss the apple slices in the reduced cider and spread them out over the bottom of the pan. 

Sprinkle the bacon, rosemary and cheddar cheese on top of the apples. 

Mix the eggs and half and half, pour into the pan and fold the edges of the phyllo dough that is hanging over the sides. 

Bake in a preheated 375F oven until golden brown and set in the center, about 45 minutes (check every few minutes after 35 minutes for desired doneness).

Make ahead hint: I plan to make this on New Year’s Eve and just pop in the oven the next day.  

Enjoy!

I’d pair both of the above dishes with any of our fruity Spirit Ciders – and I AM going to pair them with BOTH of the Spirit Cider cocktails above. Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

I'm wishing the best year yet for all of you, Happy New Year! 

Time Posted: Dec 27, 2018 at 10:06 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
December 12, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Shipping Promotion and Top 10 Gifting Ideas

She's baaaaaack! We know you're stocking up for all of the holiday parties you have coming up, and we know you need more wine for your own personal stash...so we have ONE MORE chance for you to stock up and save BIG! This will be the last shipping promo we do until February!

Enjoy $5 Shipping for 12+ bottles and $10 shipping for 6-11 bottles of Wine and/or Spirit Cider! 

*If ordering 12 bottles or more, please order in 12 bottle increments, like 12, 24, 36...)
*Offer is valid Monday, 12/10/18 - Monday, 12/17/18 and 11:59 p.m.

🍷Promo Shoppers🍷

Promo Code:
SHIPDEAL for 6-11 bottles
SHIP12 for 12+ bottles

Enjoy Our Quantity Discounts:
10% off 6-11 bottles
15% off 12+ bottles 
20% off 36+ bottles

🍷Wine Club Members 🍷

Promo Code: 
SHIPDEALCLUB for 6-11 bottles
SHIP12CLUB for 12+ bottles

*This shipping promotion may not be used in conjunction with your quarterly wine club shipment.
SHOP HERE 

 

Top 10 Gifting Ideas

 

Cutting Board

How cool is this cutting board with the BHV logo?! It is made out of smooth, light wood and would also be perfect for serving or displaying several cheeses or appetizers at a party! Do you have a chef in your family who would love one of these? 

Box Sign

We have so many cute and sassy box signs that I'm sure you'll be able to find one that speaks to you! I love setting these up around my house as a little reminder not to take life so seriously. Also, since this box sign is talking directly to the dog lovers, I must point out that we have a whole page in our online gift shop dedicated to dog lovers. 

$150 one-time joining fee

Spirit Cider Society Membership

Membership Includes: 

  • Stainless Steel Growler
  • First Growler Fill Free
  • Spirit Cider Hat
  • Spirit Cider Decal Sticker
  • Pint Glass to Take Home
  • First Access to Newly Released Cider
  • 15% Off All Spirit Cider & Spirit Cider Merchandise
  • Free Birthday Pint
  • Special Activities & Events for Cider Club Members

To see all membership perks and to join online, click here

Coffee Mug

This adorable coffee or tea mug also has our BHV logo on the back. It's calling your friend's name (you know, the one who complains about work a lot or the one who has small children?)!

Cork Cage

Who's the crafter in your life? Chances are, she's done a cork project at some point in her crafting career. These cork cages are a cute way for her to save her corks for her next project! I also love to use mine to save the corks of all the super special bottles of wine we drink, as a way to remember them and the great times we had. We have tons of different cork cages, check them all out here

Wine Bottle Tag

Wine bottle tags are the perfect addition to the wine you always bring as a hostess gift. This little memento will make your wine bottle stand out against all of the others and bring a smile to her face. Check out all of the wine bottle tags we have and pick one that reminds you of her, for an extra (and thoughtful!) gift. 

Wine Gift Box

Wine gift boxes are a great way to show your love from afar. They are stuffed with local products, two wines each and are really fun to open! We have three different boxes to choose from, our Red Wine Gift Box which is shown to the left, a Flagship Wine Gift Box and a Dog Lovers Wine Gift Box. You can see them all and their contents here

Wine Sippy Cup

These to-go sippy cups are so popular! I'm gifting one in a white elephant gift exchange because I know my friends will fight over it. They love their wine to-go...not in an illegal way or anything, more in a to-go to the beach, to-go outside, to-go on a hike...kind of way. They are stainless steel with your choice of white (shown here), teal or pink lid! 

Gift Card

Gift cards serve many purposes. They allow the giftee to pick out their own gift, they're perfect for "the person who has everything", they are easy to mail in a card (or simply e-mail), you don't have to wonder whether they will like it or not...and the list goes on and on. We have a plastic gift card (shown here) that you can add to a card or we have an e-gift card that you can send to them via email. Both options are here

Wine

And last but certainly not least...don't forget about wine! Everyone needs it! Especially delicious wine and Spirit Cider from Bowers Harbor Vineyards. We have sparkling, red, white, dessert wine and hard cider sure to satisfy even the toughest of critics. 

Time Posted: Dec 12, 2018 at 9:46 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
November 19, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Thanksgiving Pairings

Blanc de Blanc:  Bright, fresh notes of green apple and lemon-lime make great dance partners with all those gorgeous bubbles! Pairs well with the salty, nutty, and creamy flavors, such as Baked Sausage & Brie Appetizer.
 
2017 Unwooded Chardonnay: Lean citrus aromas of lime and lemon zest are layered atop notes of green apple and pear. Pairs well with Citrus Roasted Turkey!

2017 Riesling, Medium Dry: The acidity in this wine is great with spice, and the fruitiness would perfectly match the crisp apple component in Sausage and Green Apple Stuffing.

Winston: Lots of intense, plummy, jammy flavors with spicy, peppery notes. Pair with Cranberry–Berry Compote.

2016 Pinot Noir, Wind Whistle: Look for bright cherry and raspberry flavors, balanced by toasted caramel contributed from our high quality French Oak barrels. Pair with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
 
2017 Gewurztraminer, Late Harvest: Indulgent aromas and candied pear and pineapple segue into mouthwatering notes of honeyed orange and cantaloupe, with a whisper of spice on the finish. Pair with Cherry Pie for a Traverse City twist on a traditional Thanksgiving dessert!

Time Posted: Nov 19, 2018 at 8:31 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
October 12, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Three New Red Wines: Patience is a Virtue

You may have heard the good news! We have THREE new and very glorious red wines! We know you have been “patiently” waiting for the release of these red wines and we are so excited to announce that they are available for both tasting and purchase! We are doing a special tasting fee of $5 to taste all three of the new wines, so you can either taste these in addition to your normal five for $5 or just come in and taste these three. Wine Club Member? You can taste them for free as part of your normal free tastings per visit!

Quick Facts

 

2016 Cabernet Franc, Erica $55

  • 100% Cabernet Franc
  • 170 cases
  • 18 months of aging in French Oak barrels: first and second use.

Tasting Notes: Ripe raspberry, rosemary, grippy structure from the tannins of the thick skins of the Cab Franc, long finish. Age 1-2 years before drinking. Will age 8-10 years, plus.

2016 2896, Langley $75

  • 50% Cabernet Franc, 50 Merlot
  • 220 cases
  • 18 months of aging in French Oak barrels: first and second use.

Tasting Notes: Blackberry, tellicherry peppercorn, chocolate. Age 2-3 years before drinking. Will age 10-12 years, plus.

2016 Selection S $100

  • 50% Cabernet Franc, 49% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 125 cases
  • 18 months of aging in French Oak barrels: ALL FIRST USE BARRELS ONLY!!! $1200 EACH!

Tasting Notes: Currant, leather, tobacco. Age 3-4 before drinking. Will age 12-14 years, plus.

Our Barrel Program

 

Cabernet Franc, 2896 and Selection S are only produced on really warm, perfect grape growing vintages. We are not able to make them every year. In fact, we have only made the Selection S twice, in 2012 and 2106. The prices of these wines are based on the growing season and quality of the grapes, the cooperage and barrel selection we use and how many times the barrels are used, and the potential to age and mature beautifully. The 2896 was $50 in 2010, $75 in 2012, $55 in 2013, and we were not graced by Mother Nature to be able to make it in 2014 or 2015. Spencer feels this wine is even better than the 2012!

The barrel program Spencer has built with Bryan Ulbrich (our talented winemaker) and several high-end cooperages from France is like NO OTHER barrel program in the Midwest. The time and money spent on this program is remarkable and focused. We have 20 years of barrel experience and have improved the program each year by learning, tasting, listening to Mother Nature, training our vines and taking meticulous care of them, and only bottling our high-end reds in the superior growing years. It is a three-year process for each vintage to really see what barrels perform the best. We’ve taken Old-World lessons in this aspect of winemaking to learn, modify and improve every time we make wine. The 2896 wine was aged 18 months in first use and second use barrels. They cost approximately $1,200 each, and we only use the barrels twice for this program. For the Selection S, we aged this wine for 18 months in all brand-new barrels; expensive but worth it! This will give this wine the ability to age 10-15 years, and give it a complex flavor and finish.

Final Thoughts

 

In today's fast-paced, instant gratification world, the concept of buying wine and purposefully laying it down to age is a bit counter intuitive. Trust us. This wine is worth waiting for! When it comes to fine red wine, patience truly is a virtue!! AGE THE WINE! We believe in you! You can do it! You will thank us!

Cheers!
Time Posted: Oct 12, 2018 at 3:55 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
August 16, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Our Red Wine Makes Its Way Onto Fustini's Fresh Take Menu

We are so excited that our 2016 Bowers Harbor Red has made its way into the recipes of Chef Sam at Fustini's new Fresh Take cafe! Chef Sam is so creative with his dishes and this new restaurant is no exception! We've partnered with Chef Sam and Fustini's in the past and love that we play a part in their Fresh Take menu. In fact, we are partnering on a wine dinner together coming up on Sept. 14th here at Bowers Harbor Vineyards! Fresh Take is a grab and go concept and they're committed to using the freshest ingredients possible, supporting tons of local farms.

Our Bowers Harbor Red is included in the sauce for their Braised Beef. Chef Sam was kind enough to give us the recipe for it. You'll need to tweak the amounts in proportion to how large a recipe  you make, but we know the result will be amazing! 

Braised Beef Recipe:
  • Top round (trimmed)
  • Carrot, large dice
  • Onion, large dice
  • Garlic cloves - halved
  • 2016 Bowers Harbor Red wine
  • Soy sauce
  • Thyme
  • Peppercorns
  • Coriander
  • Mustard seeds
  • Bay Leaf 
  • Chicken stock (as needed)
Method:

Cut beef into 1-2" cubes, season with salt and pepper and sear in oil until golden brown. Set aside. Add carrots, onion, garlic and sweat. Deglaze with wine. Add beef and carrots/onion/garlic mixture and spices to pan, add chicken stock (enough to almost entirely cover the beef) and cook in a 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours or until beef is tender and pulls apart easily. Chef Sam also recommends topping the braised beef with microgreens, mustard aioli and a pickled vegetable slaw. Pile high on top of your choice of crusty loaf bread and enjoy! I like to dip the sandwich in leftover au jus from the beef. 

Next time you're in Downtown Traverse City, make sure to stop into Fresh Take for a delicious grab and go lunch! 

Time Posted: Aug 16, 2018 at 9:05 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
July 31, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

A Day in the Life - Old Mission Peninsula

There’s not a day that goes by that I am not grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the Earth. Grateful to have access to all of the activities that Lake Michigan and Traverse City have to offer, as well as have the opportunity to eat and drink my way through the best food and libations around. However, as grateful as I am for it, I still need to remind myself to actually take the time to enjoy so many of these wonderful things. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life, work, routine, etc. A friend of mine posted her ‘Summer Bucket List’ the other day and mentioned that she hadn’t even cracked the surface of what she wanted to do this summer and it got me thinking…neither have I! So, to hold myself accountable, here is my first blog in an upcoming series called "A Day in the Life".

It makes sense that I would start on Old Mission Peninsula because it has so much to offer. I had some friends visiting from downstate so it was a perfect excuse to escape responsibility and be a tourist.

We began our day here at Bowers Harbor Vineyards (surprise, surprise), playing cornhole (AKA bags) and life-size Jenga while enjoying snacks with our wine and Spirit Cider samples. I love the atmosphere here, the view is beautiful and it's a great place to kick back and enjoy life. The cherry salsa and tortilla chips went down WAY too fast. My friends absolutely loved the cider flights, with their favorites being Watermelon-Apple and Pineapple-Apple. I sipped on my favorite, the Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. The bright green apple flavors and medium dry finish are right up my alley.

 

After BHV we ventured on to Brys Estates Vineyard & Winery for their famous "Frosé" (think rosé slushy) and their gorgeous patio setting. It’s the perfect place for a photo op. The Frosé is deliciously sweet and such a refreshing change of pace for the wineries out here. I could literally drink one every single day. Brys’ deck has to be one of the most peaceful places ever. Next time I visit, I’m going to take a ride on the Wine Wagon down to the Secret Garden.

 

Next, we headed to Mission Table for a plethora of delectable small plates. OMG the food they have you guys - it’s incredible. The flavors are interesting, fresh, local…you get the idea. Since there were six of us left at this point, and we all wanted to try everything, we just ordered a bunch of stuff and shared it all. Are you ready for the list (don’t judge us)? We had the flash-fried cauliflower, goat cheese/lamb ragout ravioli, wild mushroom risotto, short-rib tacos, beet salad, lamb rack AND the loma grain bowl. Jealous? Kidding aside, it was the best meal I’ve had in Traverse City in at least a year. Every single thing was perfection with the loma grain bowl and the lamb rack being my personal favorites. I’ll be back soon, like tomorrow.

And to end the night, we had a nightcap at The Boathouse. We ordered everything from the perfect Manhattan, full-bodied Cabernet, Tito’s/soda and a gin martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. Cocktail Heaven. As we sat and watched the sunset drop down behind the boats, I couldn’t help but feel, well, so dang lucky.

Whether you’re planning a trip north soon, or you live here and need a little stay-cation day, I highly suggest following my "Day in the Life" – Old Mission Peninsula style.

Stay tuned for my next adventure and if you do come visit, please let me know how you enjoyed it!

Time Posted: Jul 31, 2018 at 9:57 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
July 17, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Celebrating One of Our Own

Here at Bowers Harbor Vineyards, we're a pretty passionate bunch. We're passionate about the wines we produce. We're passionate about the land and water we have the privilege of stewarding. We're passionate about offering exceptional hospitality to the guests who visit our vineyard. And, we're passionate about our team – the people who introduce you to our BHV wines. 

That's why – when one of our team members accomplishes something extraordinary – we like to celebrate! 

Rachel Van Til began her journey with wine working in the BHV tasting room during her summers home from college. She earned her Certified Sommelier pin while working at Trattoria Stella here in Traverse City, and in 2016 was recognized by Wine and Spirits Magazine as "One of the Top 8 New Sommeliers of 2016". She moved to Detroit the summer of 2016 to open and serve as Beverage Director and Front of House manager for Mabel Gray, named "2017 Restaurant of the Year" by the Detroit Free Press. 

Last year she moved to Dallas to serve as a sommelier at Pappas Brothers Steak House in Dallas, TX. On July 11, Rachel traveled to Phoenix to take the grueling 3-day Advanced Sommelier Exam. She passed with flying colors, and we're proud to say she got her start at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. Kristy McClellan, our Director of Operations, continues to be a mentor and a role model for Rachel.

Congratulations, Rachel! Here's to pursuing our dreams with passion and excellence! 

 

Time Posted: Jul 17, 2018 at 12:02 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
June 25, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Mission Point Lighthouse Fundraiser

Mission Point Lighthouse Friends and Bowers Harbor Vineyards announce the release of their specially labeled 2018 Lighthouse Wine. Produced with Bowers Harbor Vineyards’ light and refreshing Pinot Grigio, a portion of the sales are dedicated to the preservation of the peninsula’s beautiful lighthouse.

For the third year, Mission Point Lighthouse Friends invited artists to submit their work to be featured on the specially labeled Pinot Grigio. Each April, the public is invited to Bowers Harbor Vineyards’ Tasting Room to help select the winning artwork. This year’s winner was Ruth Kitchen, whose beautiful watercolor is featured on these lovely bottles of wine.

To date, Bowers Harbor Vineyards has counted it a privilege to be able to donate over $4,300 to this beloved local landmark. The Lighthouse Pinot Grigio is available at Mission Point Lighthouse and at Bowers Harbor Vineyards; this wine is also available to ship. To view more of Ruth Kitchen’s work, go to her website. Click here to purchase the Lighthouse Label Pinot Grigio.

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2018 at 8:49 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
May 29, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Taste Wine, Eat Food, Taste Wine

The BHV team had an amazing experience recently! We were treated to a food and wine pairing event at Trattoria Stella’s, given by the general manager and sommelier, Alfiero Silveri! It was a private experience, a 5-course meal, where we learned about which foods paired best with Bowers Harbor Vineyards wines, and why. At this point, we all have gone to a lot of these types of events, had tons of training on flavor profiles, learned all about our wines, etc. and there is still SOOOO much to learn! It’s fascinating! Pairing wine with food has to be one of the greatest joys in life. I love wine, and I love food, and I double love them together.

Another thing I love, is to learn from passionate people. I’ll never forget the first time I learned how important it was to do work that you loved. I was in my senior year of college and I had a recreation management class where we toured different facilities and learned about what it takes to manage them, from the manager of the facility. The one that I will never forget about was the ice hockey rink where we learned about ice management from the Zamboni driver. He made ice management sound like the most interesting and technical process and his passion for it was literally radiating off of him. It sounds crazy, but I truly remember thinking, “Wow, I hope I love my job someday as much as he does!” And to this day, I firmly believe that people should ONLY do what they are passionate about. Life is simply too short not to. And the wine industry is no exception. It not only requires hard work and dedication, it requires PASSION.

It was such a treat learning about the food and wine pairings from Alfiero because of his…can you guess it? Yes, his passion! As Alfiero says, “Wine is one of the most prized commodities in the world and we get to work with it every day!"

So now that I’ve already written a novel, it’s time to get to the moral of the story…the WHY behind the pairings!

Taste wine, eat food and then taste wine again to get the full food/wine pairing effect.

Pairing Guidelines: Cheat Sheet
  • Acid + Acid
  • Sweet + Salty
  • Bitter + Fat
  • Acid + Fat
  • Alcohol + Fat
  • Alcohol + Spicy = NO
  • Bitter + Bitter = NO

And now for the menu:

White asparagus, toasted almonds, lemon butter & thyme

2017 Unwooded Chardonnay

Little gem lettuce, house pepperoncini, gorgonzola, herb vinaigrette

2017 Medium Sweet Riesling

Beets, duck leg confit, goat cheese, strawberry-honey vinaigrette

2016 Pinot Noir, Nicholas

Lamb spiedino, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, brodo

2013 2896, Langley 

Candied almond meringue, strawberry & pear compote, pickled black mission figs, orange zest, honey

2016 Riesling, Langley Late Harvest

You drooling yet? By looking at the cheat sheet, can you see why the chef paired these foods and wines together?

Wine enhances food and vice versa. To enjoy both to their fullest capacity we must explore and understand their relationship! Whether you’re new to wine, a sommelier, or somewhere in between, wine and food pairings should be fun and accessible. Great pairings truly take the dining experience to the next level. Tasting and smelling the different notes and nuances helps to train your palette, and you begin to notice small details. Once you get the experience of how wines work with different foods, you’ll take your dinner parties or Taco Tuesday nights to the next level!

It feels like wine and food pairing is a never-ending topic, which I know can seem overwhelming. Hopefully the pairing guidelines cheat sheet will help with future meal planning. I’m always here if you’d like any suggestions! Feel free to email me anytime at Alaina@bowersharbor.com.

I wrote another food pairing (wine and cheese) blog last Fall which also may help you for future cocktail parties, check it out here

Time Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:13 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
March 19, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Design the Vine

It's coming up on our favorite time of year here at BHV. Why, you ask? Pruning (yes, we really mean that!)!  We spent February snowshoeing around, rolling through the vineyards, and checking on our vines. This time in the vines allowed us to fully see the quality of vine management from the previous vintage and make any necessary adjustments. It gave us a moment to pause and direct our attention to any new techniques that we may want to apply in the vineyard. It is also an opportune time to evaluate the position of the vines' shoots and anticipate changes we may want to make for not only the current growing season but for productivity of future vintages. 

The Proof is in the Pruning

March is here, and for Michigan grape growers that means pruning is just around the corner. For us, grapevine pruning is an annual practice where nearly 90 percent of the previous year’s growth is removed. This is how we maintain the vine form and control the fruit and quality. 

     

 .   

Spencer recently took me on a pruning lesson and it was so interesting to see what happens to, and how much labor goes into, each vine during pruning. If you take a look at the photos above you can see what the vine looked like before it was pruned, the middle stage and after it was finished. I threw the fourth photo in there just to show you what the vine looked like the very next day. One day it was a beautiful, bluebird day, and then the next, a complete whiteout...which is exactly why we start pruning early here! Shoot thinning early in the season is one way to overcome the crowding in these areas.

Size Matters

When pruning, we are trimming the vines to select our best two canes that we will then tie down on the weight-bearing wire, and count out to eight buds (ideal vine). We are looking for a pencil-sized diameter for the canes, not the bigger ones, sometimes referred to as bull wood. We want the pencil-size diameter because it has more vigor and the buds are tighter together.

With over 25 years experience, it's safe to say that Spencer is a fast pruner but just pruning one vine took about 20 minutes! It's pretty incredible to think that this happens by hand every year, on each and every one of our 18,000+ vines! 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Designing the Vine!

 

Time Posted: Mar 19, 2018 at 7:55 AM
Never miss another winery activity or discount again!

Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all things BHV!

Enjoy access to latest wine releases, events, incredible promotions, and more!