SWISHER, Iowa (KWWL) - Cedar Ridge in Swisher is harvesting their grapes earlier than ever before. The dry weather forced the grapes to ripen early. Weather has been a big factor all this year for the vineyard, following an unseasonably warm spring that also brought a late frost.
"We knew we were going into the season, we were going to be down on weight during harvest," said Kolin Brighton, Production Manager.
In total there will be 10-15% less wine for Cedar Ridge's 2012 varieties.
"We had our best harvest on record last year," said Brighton. "We have a surplus of inventory leftover from last year. We weren't able to sell it all this year. So we're going to have less wine to make this year."
While the frost killed some of the grapes, the drought was actually helpful. The dry weather means the grapes are going to have more flavor.
"It means the wine this year should have a lot more concentrated aromas and flavors and just be better all around, but there will be less of it," said Brighton.
That doesn't mean there aren't grapes to be picked. Just like every other year, Cedar Ridge counts on the community for help during harvest.
"The cutting of the grapes is fun," said Karyn Goldensoph. "When you find a big huge clump and you're like 'Oh, this can fill half my bucket!'"
"I'm going to keep an eye out and see if the St. Croix of Vintage 2012 is for sale and then I'm going to buy it up and be like 'I helped with this wine!'" said Nikki Andrew.
Cedar Ridge pays pickers 10 cents for every pound. Over Labor Day Weekend, they're hosting the Third Annual Harvest Festival. There will be food, music, and multiple grape stomps.
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