Chateau Morrisette’s current vineyard acreage is thirteen acres planted in native American Niagara grapes that the winery uses to produce Sweet Mountain Laurel and Red Mountain Laurel.
Vines are rough pruned January through March; in April the vines are trellised and the first fertilizer application is made. Bud break occurs in mid-April triggering the first fungicide, pesticide and weed control treatments. Vines are ‘suckered’ in May, and weeding and irrigation begins for the remainder of the growing season.
Closer to harvest, in late September, berry samples are taken and tested for sweetness (Brix level). The Brix scale is a system used in the United States to measure the sugar content of grapes and wine. During fermentation, half of the sugar is converted into alcohol and the other half is converted into carbon dioxide which bubbles off into the atmosphere. A Brix level of 17 to 18°Bx is considered perfect for harvesting grapes.
Harvest is performed in early October; each acre yields an average of three tons of grapes. Bins of freshly picked grapes are brought to the crushing pad the same day and immediately pressed.