When Rich Ripepi, owner and winemaker of Ripepi Winery and Vineyard in Monongahela, Pa invited us to take part in the harvest at his vineyard we gladly accepted. It was a beautiful early fall day as we walked from the winery to the rows of Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the adjacent vineyard. We picked up our clippers from the tool bucket, located a section of unharvested vines by the empty bins laid out beneath them and went to work. It wasn’t too long before Rich came by and his excitement about this years harvest was written all over his face. He talked in glowing terms about how well the grapes had ripened during the month of September because of the warm weather and plentiful sunshine from the nearly cloudless skies. I asked Rich how he determined when it was time to pick and he told me he uses all the traditional methods like Brix (these berries were 23), acidity and other factors but what it really all comes down to is if he tastes the grapes and they taste ripe to him then it is time to pick. After a very wet summer which called for a more robust spraying program and more cultivation than normal there was an amazing turn of events that lead to this being one of the best harvest ever. We took a break and walked with Rich to the winery where the pressing of the Traminette grapes which were picked earlier that day was nearing completion. After being destemed the grapes were mixed with rice husks to make it easier to press out the juice. Rich grabbed a glass and said “Do you want to taste it?” as he fills it with the freshly press juice that flows from the press, it was sweet and full of flavor. While walking back to the vineyard to finish picking, Rich relates the most interesting stories about his evolving journey as a winemaker which makes the time pass quickly as we strip the last vines of their fruit. We would like to say “Thank You” to Rich Ripepi for inviting us to share this experience with him and his family. More information about the Ripepi Winery and their award-winning wines can be found at www.Ripepiwine.com
Seven Springs Mountain Resort will be hosting the Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards Wine Dinner in their Slopeside restaurant at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday March 20th, 2013. This dinner will feature a wine pairing for each course from the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. I have posted the menu for your convenience. Reservations can be made by calling 800-452-2223 ext.6000. Seven Springs Mountain Resort is at 777 Waterwheel Dr. Seven Springs, Pa 15622.
- Ste. Michelle’s Limited Release wines: fun, passion and fewer inhibitions (seattletimes.com)
Did you know that you could have the chance to sample wine and spirits or even meet a celebrity at your PLCB store? To find out if any events are slated for your favorite store you must first find your stores ID number by visiting www.finewineandgoodspirits.com and using the store locator feature to identify the 4 digit number assigned to that store. Position the cursor over the Promotions tab, then point at the Events tab at the far right end of the drop down menu, lastly click on the In-Store Events. Enter your store ID number into the box marked Store then click Search and a directory of all the events scheduled for that store will appear with a description of each that can be expanded for more information when clicked.
In a totally unrelated matter I stopped at the Ripepi Winery last week and saw that picking had begun but I also noticed that there was a plentiful supply of fruit left to be harvested. I find that standing in a vineyard and seeing the ripe grapes hanging from the vines a truly awe-inspiring sight.
The Friends of the Monongahela Area Library will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, May 19th from 5:30 P.M. until ?. The event will be held at the Ripepi Winery and Vineyards located at 93 Van Voorhis Lane Monongahela, PA. The evening will feature wine tastings and vineyard tours along with other activities. This is an excellent opportunity to get a close look at the Ripepi Winery and Vineyards plus the added benefit of helping out an organization that provides essential services to the community. Tickets cost $25 and are available at the Monongahela Library 813 W. Main St Monongahela Pa. 724-258-5409. Hope to see you there.