Why We Do It

Moments that make the bee stings worthwhile

In Winemaking
on 11 Sep 14

We officially opened to the public at Mitchell Vineyard on Tuesday, with a busy day full of excited customers looking to try their hands at St. Croix, la crescent, and prairie star grapes, as well as some (surprisingly ripe) marquette and a few other varietals. It was an exhausting day, but the energy in the air was beautiful––as was the weather, which has since turned unseasonably cold.

customers share homemade wine

I came home sore, tired, sunburnt, sweaty, dirty, and in no small amount of pain after a yellow jacket had a bit of a conflict with my inner thigh. But the day will remain in my memory as perfect. A group of regular customers––several longtime friends––came out to purchase grapes for their annual winemaking, and they brought us bottles of their foch/millot rosé and la crescent/prairie star white to taste while we crushed their new grapes.

To be handed a glass of really, really good wine made from grapes grown on the soil you’ve been covered in all year is a really incredible thing. We all took a moment to enjoy the wine and the day, and the happy smiles of the group of friends who liked our grapes enough to make wine from them and share it.

That’s the buzz, the bug––that’s why I care about wine the way I do. After my first full season of working exclusively in a vineyard, it was an amazing time to sit back and see the bigger picture.

Julia Burke reviews South African wine and writes about social justice, the South African wine industry, and her own adventures in winemaking.