Things have gotten a little crazy around here this week! The boys started school on Tuesday. Henry is in 2nd grade, Vinny is in Kindergarten, and Oliver will be starting preschool next week! They are all really excited about getting back into a more structured schedule :) LOL (I think Mom is the most excited!) Vinny said he only got into trouble 2 times on his first day for "blurting out" when it wasn't his turn - and that doesn't come as a surprise for those that know Vinny well :)
Construction keeps clipping along. Joe and I made some changes to the basement - adding a couple of bathrooms and a small bar to service the outdoor patio, so our plumbing plans had to go back to the State Plumber for review and approval. That's causing some delay for the plumbers and the rest of the project, but we are hoping they can get started on Monday and keep things moving along. We would rather take care of it now and have it be right - but the wait is SO HARD!
Our building is going to be a Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) building made by Enercept out of Watertown, SD. "Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. SIPs are made with an expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid foam core sandwiched between two structural skins of 7/16″ oriented strand board (OSB). When the two are laminated together, they create an insulated panel that is 2-1/2 times stronger than a stick-frame wall." The interior side of the panel will have Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP), and Enercept was able to apply that in their factory, making the on-site process much quicker!
The panels arrived this week and are just waiting to be put together!
There was a really bad storm that rolled through the area on Monday night around 8pm. The hail started just at the vineyard site over at Brian's and moved through our corn fields, as well as our neighbors, and the community of Brooten. Thankfully the vines at our house and the winery site were not affected, but much of our corn crop was shredded up pretty badly, and the grapes were bruised too. This year for farming was probably one of our most difficult years on record for us personally. It was a late, LONG spring to get the crop in. The weather has been cold and wet. And now much of our efforts were lost to a few minutes of hail that rolled through. But, farmers are eternal optimists, right? And it could have been much worse. So we are thankful and will keep pushing forward :)
Because of the storm and the hail, we made the decision to pull one of the varieties a few days early. These seemed to be affected the most by the storm and it was important to salvage as much as we could. These grapes went to a new winery coming north of Glenwood called Whitetail Meadow Winery. Because of our licenses and the current state of our building, along with the early harvest of this variety and low yields we had this year, we made the decision to sell them. Deanna has bought from us in the past and she's just a few miles up the road, so it was an easy decision.
And our equipment started arriving this week too! Our press arrived yesterday and the crusher and filter arrived today. We are still waiting on the pumps and the tanks which are coming from Italy, and are currently out at sea. Hurricane Dorian has delayed the delivery of that, but we are hoping we should see that shipment by the end of next week!
And finally a progress report on the grapes. Joe is estimating a week from Monday we’ll continue with the rest of our harvest. We used to hand harvest everything, up until last year, when Joe’s Uncle Mark purchased the grape harvestor (pictured above). What used to take ten people, 10+ ten-hour days, now can be done in just a couple of days with 3 people. It’s a HUGE time saver, we can control when we harvest, and we don’t have to manage a whole crew of people. Plus, we feel we get a cleaner sample of fruit from the harvestor because it blows out any leaves and bugs that would have potentially come with hand-harvested fruit.
We will have to hand harvest one variety this year however. The vines are just a few years old so we don’t think they are quite mature enough yet to go through the harvestor. So, if you are interested in learning more and want to come volunteer for a day, we plan to pick that variety on September 21st. Contact me to get on the list in the form below!
Whew! We made it! Hopefully I’ll have lots of building progress pictures next week! Fingers crossed!
About the Author
I'm Melanie, co-owner of Rolling Forks Vineyards, boy mom & wine lover.