002 (3)October, a season of fruitfulness. Deciding when to pick the grapes can be a nail-biting time. For high quality wine, great amount of good may come from leaving the grapes on the vine for just that week or so longer than your neighbour winery. If the weather holds, not only more sweetness but also more concentration of flavour may result. If the aim is to produce an everyday wine with fruity taste then it is probably not worth the extra anxiety involved in waiting for the ultimate picking time. Keeping the grape-pickers standing by can be a costly business and they may work with another winery on just that day or the communal grape-picking machine is in use somewhere else. Few wineries can afford the luxury of their own machine-harvester. A day’s delay, a thunderstorm and… no quality wine to sell at a higher price to pay the bills.

The family owned vineyard with all the wine produced on the spot is fast becoming harder to find. Thousands of grape growers are opting to concentrate on viticulture and leave the vinification (wine making) to someone else. Those family ventures which do thrive are based on enormously hard work, passion for the industry, and a devotion to modern methods for maximum quality and hopefully sales. Often behind the old cellars and barns there are likely a computer and modern equipment to help keep ahead of the competition. Such is the state of family ventures of a sufficient size to sell to restaurants and retail stores. Many are smaller family winery which tends to aim for self-sufficient rather than for big profit, producing enough wine to meet the family’s needs and the goods they need.

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During the fall season, many wineries stay open on weekends. Organize a friend get-together wine tasting.