Three Questions with… Kari Skrip Gavenus of Clover Hill

wine_03691. Harvest season is about to get under way at Clover Hill. What is a typical day during harvest like for you and your staff? What’s going on in the vineyards?

So much goes on at harvest that there really isn’t a typical day. Clover Hill owns and operates six vineyard sites located in Lehigh and Berks counties with about 100 acres in production. Our goal during harvest is to find the optimal time to pick the grapes. We constantly test the grapes for sugar, acid and pH levels and we do a lot of tasting to find the perfect flavor. We monitor the weather and fight off the birds. When we feel we have reached the perfect ripeness, we head into the vineyard to hand harvest the fruit as quickly as possible, return the grapes to the winery, and start crushing and pressing immediately to retain sugar levels and flavors. It is the most labor intensive time of year for us, but it is also our favorite time of year.

2. What wines will Clover Hill produce from this fall’s grape harvest, and when will they be ready to drink?

Clover Hill grows 12 different grape varieties. In a typical year we begin harvest in early September and complete the season by the end of October, occasionally we go into November. This year, we are most excited by the looks of our Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin and Merlot in the vineyard. Most of the 2015 vintage will not be available for sale until spring 2016 at the earliest. We will strive to release one wine for Nouveau Weekend, November 21 & 22, 2015. This would be your first chance to taste the 2015 harvest.

3. What’s the most important piece of advice you give to someone who is a new to drinking wine?

Follow your taste buds! The best way to find out what you like (or don’t like) is by tasting. When you visit a local winery you have the opportunity to sample for yourself and learn more about the wines. Keep tasting… that is the best way, and most fun, way to learn about wine.