Fence Stile's dessert wine Ishq (pronounced Ishk) is made from late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes. The primary harvest of Fence Stile's French-American hybrid grapes are completed late August through late September. Owner-winemaker Shriti Plimpton decided to leave six rows of Vidal Blanc grapes on the vines for a late 2018 harvest. These grapes were picked, crushed, and pressed in mid-November. Harvest involved methods that included "birdnetting" the rows of vines. Vineyard manager Shawna Mull also fashioned some "hammocks" to catch fallen grapes trapped in the folds of the netting.
The juice from these grapes will become Ishq and another limited-release dessert wine that will be available in late winter. These late harvest dessert wines are not considered ice wines.
Ice wine is a dessert wine produced from grapes that are frozen while still on the vine. This low-yield method concentrates the sugar in the grape juice and produces an extremely sweet wine. Unpredictable winter weather and temperatures make it challenging, time-consuming, and expensive to ensure grapes on the vine are frozen for a sufficient period to yield the desired sugary juice.
Watch the video above to learn more about the process of harvesting, crushing, and pressing these late harvest grapes. The gallery below has additional behind-the-scenes photos not included in the video.
Brand and events manager, chef and cellar rat Pete Dulin documents wine, food and operations at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery through writing and photography.