2018 Season

What an interesting and challenging season! The winter was cold and snowy and the vines snug in their beds. The spring was text book grape growing with no major issues and summer was hot and dry.  Late summer presented a few challenges, cool misty mornings and a bit of rain encouraged mildew to grow.  Harvest was the earliest  this year than ever , nearly two weeks for the hybrids.  Overall I am very pleased with the quality of grapes harvested this year. As the year winds down the vines are prepared for winter, some buried and others covered using geotextile fabric until late November.  Only then can we rest and Wassail. 

Summer 2017

After a cooler and wet spring,  summer has arrived and the vines are vigorously growing. We expect this to be a very good growing season


January - March 2017

The Vines are sleeping and the wine is dreaming of warmer days.


What happened at Gravel Hill Vineyards this week…..June 12-19, 2016?


The temperature is perfect for the vines and they are growing vigorously. The Frontenac Noir and Blanc are almost finished flowering and the Cabernet Franc is just beginning.  The vines have grown enough now that tucking is required to maintain uniformity. It is looking to be a very good year in the vineyard and I can’t wait for the harvest.  It has also been fairly dry for the past couple of weeks and the grass is on the brown side now.  The only thing that is growing well other than the vines are the weeds, Canadian Thistle, Ragweed and Milkweed to mention a few.

On Saturday we had the pleasure of having Fratelli’s Pete’s Za wood fired pizza at the winery.  Peter and Pat  were making custom handmade pizza for our customers.  The feedback was fantastic! They even created a pizza which paired perfectly with our Killdeer Vidal Blanc (a Killdeers is a bird) it had fresh pears, fig puree, blue cheese, Provolone and Prosciutto all on a crispy wood fired crust. It was definitely a highlight of my day.

Another milestone at the winery was our first large coach wine tour bus which showed up at 2 pm Saturday.  There were thirty six wine enthusiasts on this tour which was planned by Broken Stone Winery. Big thanks to Tim, the owner of Broken Stone for adding us to list of wineries on the tour.

So back to the highlights…..it’s 1:50 pm and the parking is full with customers and the tasting room is two deep then I hear the pop of air brakes as the tour bus pulls in.  There is no place to park and certainly no place to turn around.  All I can think about is I need to start preparing the tasting glasses for the tour. So I carefully grab the tray with thirty six glasses and proceed to the outdoor tasting bar. By this time there are fifty plus people at our tasting bar and retail.  I make my way through the crowd to the tasting bar and proceed to place the tray down then I bumped the tray on the edge of the bar and all of the glasses crash onto the surface.  OMG!  what have I done!….we only have about fifty glasses total.  Shocked, I pause momentarily then regroup and sort through the broken glass for the unbroken glasses so that I can get a count of the living.  Thankfully amongst the crowd are a couple of friends from Michelle’s work which quickly come to our rescue by washing glasses and cleaning up broken glass. Thanks John and Christine for helping us get through the crunch! Turns out that we had enough glasses so I grab the wine and start pouring, a little shaky but the worst was over and now was my chance to shine by sharing my wines with so many happy faces.  They say the rest is history, but now I have an interesting story to tell about the day the first bus rolled in.

The rest of the day was uneventful. We enjoyed pizza, wine and conversation with good friends, Isn’t that what life is all about!

Till next time,

Chris Karja