It has been another incredible year at Grace Hill Winery. From pruning through harvest, at events under the tent, and all times in between we have been both challenged and blessed. But each year we are a little more confident that we really can make amazing wine here in Kansas.
Spring started out well for us and we seem to be doing better each year at pruning the plants to bring out their best potential. There were no late frosts, and the plants came through remarkably well. As they set fruit in the summer we were really encouraged. August brought extreme hot weather which reduced our yields, especially of the seyval which ripens first. However, the vines rebounded nicely once the heat broke, and the red grapes came in well.
Harvest was once again a great time, with lots of people coming out to help, including a lot of new ones. We made some really good new friends this year. We meet such interesting people here, which is one of the best parts.
We got a tent in May, which we used for the first time at our Spring Release Party. The party was great, and the tent was used all during summer and fall for a variety of events. The vineyard is such a good setting that some days it was hard to get people to leave!
We also had a great turnout for the fall release party, and were really proud of the quality of wine we released then. Our Cab Franc is better than we thought we would be able to make, and we go through a lot of it! It is going to be served with the main course at the Kansas Grapegrowers and Winemakers banquet next month, which makes us really proud.
I think the best news for us this year, though, was that when we tried some of the wines we made in 2006-2008, they were even better than when we first tried them. We were a little apprehensive trying the 2006 chardonel, from our last year of home winemaking, but it was surprisingly rich and complex. I just wish we had saved more. We thought the same about our old Barrel Reserve Red and Norton. So if you have some of those around, there is no hurry to drink them yet. They actually do improve with age!
So have a happy new year, and we look forward to seeing you back at the winery. We have some big plans for 2011, and I promise to blog more often to keep all our friends in the loop!