Fall Harvest in Virginia

When most people think of Fall, they picture autumn leaves, pumpkins, and cool weather. However, for vineyards in Virginia, Fall marks an important and exciting time. This is harvest time for Virginia wineries.

Growing Grapes in Virginia

Wine-making is a long, slow process. It can take three years for newly planted vines to produce fruit. The winery might not bottle the first vintage for two years or more. Making a great bottle of wine takes time, knowledge, and skills. It requires dedication to the vines and the wine-making process. Wine-making is an art, and each step requires careful planning and consideration.

Before planting grapes, vineyard owners must evaluate the soil and climate to determine which grapes will flourish. Each site of the vineyard is carefully assessed. Once planted, vineyard owners cover the vines to provide warmth and protection as they grow. Over the next few years, the vines require a lot of care and attention. 

Once established, the vines begin producing fruit. Although the vines remain dormant throughout the winter, vineyard owners must continue to care for them. Proper pruning ensures the right balance of shoots and buds. Poorly pruned vines simply cannot produce the high-quality fruit needed to make great wine.

In Virginia, growing season begins in April. As the vines awaken from a long winter, the first buds appear. The flowering stage begins about one month later. It’s crucial that vineyard managers continue to care for the vines at this time. Throughout Spring, temperatures can drop at night, putting delicate shoots at risk of damage.

Fruit set occurs approximately one month after the flowering stage. This is when small green clusters of grapes appear on the vines. As the fruit develops, it changes from hard, small, and green to plump, juicy clusters. Known as veraison, this is when red grapes turn from green to purple and green grapes turn a beautiful golden green color. Finally, it’s time to harvest the fruit.

At Breaux Vineyards, we pick our fruit directly into bins known as lugs. Once full, the lugs get loaded into a tractor and moved into larger bins. These bins go into the refrigerator to allow the grapes to rest overnight before we press them. 

Harvest Time at Breaux Vineyards

Despite this year being very different than years before, we’ve had beautiful fruit. We began picking Sauvignon Blanc on August 31, 2020. On that first day of harvest we removed 4 tons of grapes from the vines. Although the rain kept us out of the vineyards for a couple of days, we began picking again on September 2nd. This year, we’ve harvested Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, and Barbera. We will continue harvesting until we’ve brought in every single grape.

Harvest time is an excellent time to visit our vineyard. Our grounds and seating in the Tasting Room are now open by reservation. Walk-ins are welcome for small groups of less than nine people, with walk-in seating available on a first-come first-served basis. 

Please contact us for more information or click here to book your reservation online. We look forward to seeing you at Breaux Vineyards!