FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s harvest time across Northern Indiana, not just in the fields but also in the vineyards. Harvesting at Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard in LaOtto has been going on for the last several weeks and so far the crop looks to be fruitful even with some challenges.
Throughout the year they have to battle the elements but the crucial times are in the early and late parts of the season. This is when the vines and grapes are vulnerable to frost or large temperature swings. They also have to worry about rain at harvesting, which is where their hard to miss picking machine comes in handy.
“The harvest so far this year has been all over the board. We’ve had hot weather, we’ve had cooler weather we’ve had rainy weather. So far with the machine, we’ve worked around that because it only takes an hour or two in the morning for us to pick most of our varieties,” explained Jeremy Lutter, Owner and Operator of Country Heritage, “That’s one advantage to having the machine over and picking. So far it’s been a challenging year for us, but it’s been a good year.”
Earlier this week they were harvesting their Petite Pearl, a dry red that does well in the soil in Northern Indiana as it can hold up against the big temperature swings of the region.
“So in this soil, we have here in especially northern Indiana. As you know we have not necessarily, we do have bad winters too, but they’re more open winters. So in February, we could have 70 degrees or we could have minus 15,” described Lutter, “So we had to pick varieties that will take that huge swings, we still have some damage from that but this is a variety that is pretty, pretty cold hardy when it comes to weather like that.”
The last variety to be picked at country heritage will be Norton and that will happen in the next week or 10 days.