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Riesling, glorious Riesling, fresh from Harvest 2012 in Niagara


Everywhere you look in Niagara the onslaught of grapes are coming into the winery ready to be sorted, crushed and sent on their way to ferment.

I can’t remember an earlier pick for so many different varieties. It all began last week with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for sparkling wines (but with quality so high across the board there will be less of it this year as winemakers are keeping the juice for top table wines) and moved into Baco Noir and even Riesling.

I was with Jay Johnston, the new winemaker at Organized Crime on the Beamsville Bench, today after he kindly invited me out to see the first pick of his youngest Riesling vines.

The three-year-old vines were showing pretty good Brix and Jay decided to get a small haul in early. It was his first crush at his new winery and he wanted to put the equipment through the paces before harvest starts in earnest, likely next Thursday.

Here are some photos of the harvest, sorting and ultimately the juice.

Collecting the harvested Riesling:


Older vine Riesling still on the vine:


Gewurztraminer glistening in the sun:


Jay constantly tastes the grapes for ripeness:


Tasting the freshly picked Riesling before sorting:


The first Riesling grapes hit the sorting table:


Hand sorting occurs on the shaker table:


The crew hard at work:

sorting crew

Adjusting the press:


The raw grape juice after grapes are crushed:


A nice glass of fresh Riesling (juice), anyone?

finished juice