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Laboring on Labor Day - And Loving It!

CRUSH2 harvestgrapes Harvestschedule
Labor Day is not a holiday that normally gets observed in the wine industry, unless you count working as the true celebration.  After three consecutive Labor Day holidays off (2010, 2011 & 2012) here at Markham, we were all happy to spend it together doing what we love. We’re crushing it now, thankful for the amazing quality with which the 2013 vintage is providing. Team work is #1 during harvest, with an ‘in it to win it’ philosophy. My hope is that you can taste that in each glass of Markham wine because my team truly aims to please. It is that team collaboration that keeps us strong and excited to make each vintage better than the last…cheers to that!

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Harvest 2013 is Well Underway!

Time for a quick toast as our first Chardonnay grapes arrived on Friday - then back to work. It's looking like a great harvest!

 

kim tilt juice crew

The Bets Are on the Calendar for the First Day of Harvest!

GrapesamplingsbsamplingUntil now, harvest had been speeding towards us, causing a frenetic pace to finish our Chardonnay bottling, make room in the barrel cellars, prep all the new barrels, order supplies and clean all the tanks. But the cooler weather in early August has allowed us all to breathe a sigh of relief as the ripening slows. Where all of us predicted an early harvest, it now appears that perhaps a normal start is at hand. And why is it that they never learn that I get to decide when to pick the grapes? Makes it hard for me to lose the bet!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

 

Summer is Always too Short


Blackberry-Hand-Pies2Good thing I’m already in full summer celebration mode. It may seem a bit early, my summer is soon to be cut short as harvest is speeding ahead whether or not I’m ready. But I’ve been watching the local buckeye trees on my drive to work for the tell-tale signals. First I noticed when they bloomed in May. Typically the grapevines follow a similar bloom pattern. Currently I see the buckeyes are turning brown and beginning to drop their leaves. A trip to the vineyard confirmed what I already knew to be true; veraison was beginning to show in the color of the grapes.

I’ve been entertaining at home with my family, enjoying the lazy summer days. Spending time cooking together with friends and raising glasses of ice cold Markham Rosé. My upcoming visit to my parents’ house will find me in the kitchen with my mom cranking out more epic meals paired with great wines. I know my dad will have picked enough wild blackberries for my mom to have a pie cooling on the counter for us the day we arrive home! That’s what a great vacation is all about in my world, family, friends, food and wine. Guess it’s a good thing that harvest is right around the corner so I can start walking off all the calories as soon as I get back to work…

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

 

Early Harvest This Year?

 

Hopper Creek MEI continue to be amazed at just how far along we are in our grape growing season. Wandering the vineyards the past week with our vineyard manager, Peter, confirms what I’ve been secretly telling myself - harvest is less than three months away! Only the Cabernet vines have just finished blooming, everything else is already starting to take on size. There appears to be a healthy cluster count which is surprising due to the above average yields last year. The vines are happy with the warm, dry weather and extra pampering in preparation of the drought conditions. Check out the Merlot leaf I’m holding in the photo that was the size of my head!

  Both Peter and I are reminded of the 1997 vintage, one of my first vintages where I focused on the fruit in the field. That year has the historical significance of being our earliest here at Markham Vineyards with an August 7 first day of crush. It was with that in mind that I did what any seasoned veteran would do and ran screaming to my crew immediately pushing our August Chardonnay bottling into July. Looks like our favorite time of the year is coming early, and I am definitely OK with that!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls