Laurentia’s vineyard focus showcases the potential of the Grand River Valley terroir. Our 43 acres of vineyards are composed mainly of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Laurentia’s first vines, Chardonnay and Riesling, were planted just 5 miles off site of the winery at our Stoltz Road vineyard in 2011. Over the next few years, we continued to expand our vineyards and planted additional varietals including Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. Our 2015 expansion included 10 acres using a unique Y-trellis system, which we continued to expand with an additional 5 acres the following year.
As the vineyards matured, we recognized unique characteristics in varietals in various blocks, leading the way for future adjustments of which vines we grow in select locations. Our current vineyard expansion includes additional Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc at both our Stoltz Road and 528 vineyards.
We adjust our practices to maintain the integrity of the fruit and to grow the highest caliber of wine grapes. We remove leaves from our vines to provide more sun exposure to our grapes, promote more airflow in the canopy, and reduce a suitable environment for disease. Our vineyards are cropped to keep yields low, promoting high quality fruit above high quantity. We scout the vineyards constantly, addressing the needs of the vines block by block.
We completed a successful 2018 harvest in mid-October. However, we did keep some grapes on the vine for our Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, which was harvested in the cold early morning hours in mid-January 2019. As we exit the winter months, we are diligently preparing the vines for spring and are excited for the upcoming growing season.
“It all starts in the vineyards.” “You can’t make good wine from bad grapes” These are common phrases in the wine industry. But it’s true. To make good wine, we have to do our part in the vineyard. Growing grapes in Northeast Ohio is not always easy. Bitter cold winters, spring frosts, or cool rainy seasons make grape growing more difficult. But, we constantly listen to our vines and follow the best practices to ensure we have the best fruit to work with, resulting in the best wine year after year:
Lower Yields: Cropping the number of clusters per vine allows for the remaining grapes to receive more nourishment, concentrating and intensifying their flavors so that the wines will be a reflection of the complex fruit.
Exposure to Sun: Grapes like the sun. We leaf pull in order to fully ripen and develop the grapes properly, something grapes in this climate tend to struggle with. It also helps with air flow, minimizing problems with rot and mildew.
Harvest: We utilize both hand harvest and machine harvest methods. Hand harvesting is more labor intensive and pertinent for delicate, thin skinned grapes. We only select the ripest clusters, picking out any rotten grapes in the bunch. We “pre-pick” vineyards that will be machine harvested, ensuring to remove any less-than-perfect clusters. Clean fruit=clean wine, a great canvas to begin the art of winemaking.
Protecting Vines: Wind Machines, burying canes, hilling up. These are common practices followed by grape growers from around the world and for good reason. Strict measures must be implemented to ensure that our vines survive even the most extreme conditions.