Ripe on the Vine

 For the first time in quite a few years - five? six? more?- we will finally harvest fully ripened Concord grapes-
 Last year we talked about pulling out the vines, one of the first things we planted here about eighteen years ago, because we seldom get a ripened crop before the cold late fall weather sets in and freezes the grapes. I have harvested the grapes while still sour and made juice with them (later adding stevia for sweetener so people would drink it) but the flavor just isn't the same as juice made from fully ripened Concords.

We just don't have hot enough summers to ripen the grapes here on the slopes of the mountain.

With this year's cool summer it looked like we would once again lose the grapes. We had a beautiful September with consistent seventy degree temperatures and bright blue skies. I tried a new strategy of keeping them dry, not watering the vines at all (we had no rain), and several times I took the pruners to the vines, cutting away lots of foliage to expose the grapes to the sun. We had several nights of frost in early October which sweetens the grapes and now it looks like we'll have some tasty ones for the first time in quite a while.

I'll be making grape juice this weekend for sure.