NE-1020 Variety Trial Update: A Quick Harvest
Posted: October 29, 2012
Mark Wheeler and John Best from Penn State's Lake Erie Regional Grape Program picking Gruner Veltliner and collecting harvest data in the wee morning hours
Did you know that Penn State currently has two vineyard sites that are operated for grape and wine research purposes?
Well, they do! In fact, both sites in North East, PA (Erie County) and Biglerville, PA (Adams County) hold 1-acre vineyard plots specifically planted for the NE-1020 project that includes the Penn State Extension Enology program. While all the fermentations are conducted in the Food Science Building at University Park, a lot of work goes into maintaining each vineyard site and collecting appropriate data for the NE-1020 project prior to and at harvest time.
The following picture attached to this update includes Mark Wheeler and John Best who actively harvested all the material for the North East site. (The picture was taken by Bryan Hed who is also heavily involved with data collection and maintenance in the NE-1020 project in North East.)
In Biglerville, Noemi Halbrendt leads the team to properly manage the NE-1020 plot and data collection.
Having two sites accommodates the vast differences in climates that range across Pennsylvania. In 2012, North East actually completed their harvest season before the southeastern site in Biglerville. This does not happen often, but weather seemed to dictate a beautiful harvest season in both regions this year.
Once the grapes are picked, they are shipped to University Park for fermentation where the Extension Enologist leads a team of undergraduate students in wine processing. Upon arrival, the grapes are typically crushed and destemmed within 24 hours. Whites are immediately pressed and go through a 24-hour clarification step. After a racking, they are inoculated for fermentation.
Reds are immediately inoculated after crushing and destemming. Following the end of fermentation, all of the reds are inoculated with malolactic bacteria strains to complete the second fermentation of converting the biting malic acid to the softer lactic acid.
All fermentations are monitored daily to collect kinetics data. At the end of fermentation, the wines are analyzed for basic chemistries: pH, TA, residual sugar, alcohol, free SO2, total SO2, malic acid, and volatile acidity.
Right now, several of the reds are currently going through malolactic fermentation. All of the white varietals have completed fermentation and are currently being held in cold storage for stabilization.
Return back to this website or check out "Penn State Extension Enology" on Facebook for more frequent NE-1020 updates!