BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) — For three to five years after planting, Dan Mastropietro watches, works and waits for his vineyard of grapes to be ripe and ready to pick.
“The first ones ready will be Frontenac field sweet wine and port,” Mastropietro said. “It depends on the summer and how much rain, how much sunshine, when they actually become ready.”
His summer was like everyone else’s — wet.
“If it rains right before harvest, the grapes take up some of that water, the sugar content comes down so our quality isn’t as well, the last week or two has been fine for us to go ahead and pick on Saturday,” Mastropietro said.
Growing season in Ohio is shorter than warmer places like California.
“So we can’t grow as well your cabs, merlots, chardonnays,” Mastropietro said.
Of course, the grapes have to face the winters. With a few winters in sub-zero temperatures, he lost a good chunk of his Chamberson grapes.
“We had probably 750 veins in there — we lost probably 400 of them,” Mastropietro said.
He’s been making wine for over 40 years and doing it as a business for 18. So he knows when the sugar content is just right, it’s time to pick.
“Everything is picked by hand. We clip ’em, we throw ’em into the bin, and we’ll take ’em back to the building and go through the crusher, destemmer,” Mastropietro said.
A one-acre field will yield bout three tons of grapes, which will be bottled into about 2,200 bottles of dolce rosa. But the public will have to wait for a pour of this year’s harvest.
“We don’t bottle anything for at least one year — some are two to three years,” Mastropietro said.
They’ll be picking grapes in intervals through October and they have plenty right now, ready for sipping.