By Karen Edwards
For wine lovers, winter at the winery seems a quiet time. Some wineries close for the season, others reduce their hours. But while you sit by a roaring fire in January, enjoying your favorite vino, growers and winemakers are working hard on the next vintage
“The chief job for grape growers in the winter is pruning,” says David Scurlock, viticulture outreach specialist for The Ohio State University (OSU)/Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Most growers prune hardier varieties first. “That way, we know how severely to prune the vines, according to the harshness of the winter temperatures.”
In the cellar, the winemaker racks the wine and adds sulfur dioxide, says Todd Steiner, enology program manager for OSU. “It’s also when we prepare our wine for cold stabilization,” he says. “This helps remove natural potassium bitartrate ions, which can look like crystals if the wine is placed in a refrigerator.”
Finally, says Steiner: “Let’s not forget that old man winter provides the right conditions for harvesting, crushing, pressing and vinifying Ice Wine. We have excellent conditions for this wine type in our state, with a number of wineries producing world-class Ice Wines.” Perfect wine, one might add, to sip by that roaring fire.