forestedge winery ~ by guest blogger rachel heinrich

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In a world dominated by grape varieties, Forestedge Winery has found a niche producing high quality fruit wines.  No grapes here … instead you’ll find raw ingredients like apples, chokecherries, strawberries, and rhubarb!  While some ingredients – notably the rhubarb – are grown right onsite, many come from local suppliers.  This can lead to years when a particular fruit is the star … currently there is a large batch of plum wine in the works from a good harvest two seasons back.

A visit to Forestedge may include a free tasting session by one of the owners and a tour of the operation.  Fruit wines can taste a bit different from grape wines although many are similar to one or another variety of grape wine.  If you’re looking for a match, the owners at Forestedge will be happy to help you find one.

I was lucky enough to spend some time recently at the winery on a quiet day and learned more about how wine is made.  Forget those visions of the huge wooden tub with people bouncing around in it, most wine-makers today use a bladder press to extract juice.  Here are some shots of the interior and exterior of that equipment.

The black rubber balloon inflates to squeeze juice along the sides, from there it runs into a collection trough and it siphoned into vats.  Fermentation occurs as the juice sits in 50 gallon drums (with occasional stirring using huge wooden sticks about the size of a canoe paddle).  Most of the Forestedge wines only use the sugar naturally found in the fruits, so fermentation can be a slow process.

After the juice has turned to wine, it is placed in huge metal vats to age.  These containers hold literally thousands of bottles worth of wine – each labeled with the variety and production date.  Here’s a look at one of the vat rows … the odd metal assembly in the foreground is a conveyor for wine bottles.

When bottling time rolls around, the winery has a slick machine that labels, bottles, corks, and wraps the top of each bottle … here’s a look at it.

Many of the bottles go directly to the wine shop itself to wait for a lucky buyer to take them home!

Thanks for this wonderful post, Rachel!

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