Drink in a bountiful fall harvest

A rainbow appears above the vineyard at Coyote Moon Winery, Clayton.

A rainbow appears above the vineyard at Coyote Moon Winery, Clayton.

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Sugary grapes harvested this fall will make smoother, palatable wine at vineyards

Kyle R. Hafemann, owner of Otter Creek Winery, checks Frontenac grapes, which he will harvest later in the season for the production of ice wine at the Philadelphia farm. Vintners say this year’s harvest will be smaller but more valuable. Photo by Norm Johnston.

Those who enjoy sipping sweet-tasting wine to complement spaghetti dinners will be pleased by the grape harvest’s results in the north country this fall.

The grape harvest is down modestly compared with last year because of freezing temperatures in April coupled with hot weather this summer. But the grapes that baked in the sun all summer have higher sugar content and lower acid than normal. Those grapes will produce smoother and sweeter wine with a higher alcohol content than usual.

Winery owners will have to wait until next summer, after the wine is finished fermenting in barrels, to find out if it tastes as good as they forecast.

“It could be the best-tasting wine, period,” said Steven J. Conaway, owner of Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay. “It’s going to have a higher level of alcohol, more intense flavors and it’s going to be smoother because it doesn’t have the extensive acid levels.”

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