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All about the grapes: 1810 presses first batch of white grapes for local wines

Thomas and Trevor DeRosset, owners of 1810 Country Inn and Winery, and Kent Smith, winemaker, were ready to press grapes last Thursday, but first they had to find them. A tractor-trailer rig hauling 11,000 lbs. of grapes was not at the designated meeting place. A few phone calls later, the truck arrived with the load from Dahlonega, Ga.


1810 Owner Thomas DeRosset unloads a crate of grapes last week.

A one-hour late delivery was the only small glitch in the Winery's grape-pressing evening. Yet winemakers have many worries - too much rain causes disease in grape vines, cool temperatures mean the grapes won't ripen. When making the wine, too high temperature will kill the yeast, too much acid will turn the wine to vinegar or ethyl acetate.

"Making wine is more than just adding a little yeast to grape juice," Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Smith was a Delta aircraft mechanic who had a hobby of making his own beer and wine at home. He enjoyed his hobby so much, that he decided to make a career of it. Mr. Smith said he majored in chemistry and minored in biology to receive his winemaking degree from California State University, Fresno.

Mr. Smith was excited to taste the small Viognier and Chardonnay grapes before they were unloaded off the truck. This harvest was two weeks later due to cooler summer temperatures. The grapes came from BlackStock Vineyard. A harvest is expected from 1810's vineyard in two years.


1810 Maintenance Supervisor Ben Young dumps grapes into the presser.

It took the group all night to press the small, white grapes, and set them to simmer. The presser, a large, wooden-tub with an inflatable bladder in the center, held approximately 300 lbs. of grapes.

Mr. Smith said it takes 600 grapes to make one bottle of wine.

They plan to get approximately 1,300 cases of wine from this pressing, but it will not be ready until some time after Christmas, maybe closer to Valentine's Day. 1810 will have six varieties in their 2005 production, which will include some blends, and small volumes of muscadine and peach blends.

"There's a lot of give and take; sacrifices have to be made; it's all a waiting game," said Thomas DeRosset.


Winemaker Kent Smith samples the pressed grape juice.

The local winery is releasing a Merlot during the Wine Harvest Celebration. A final appreciation of the Merlot has not yet been given.

The Wine Harvest Celebration will begin at 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, and will include a concert by Steve Forbert beside the vineyard.

For more information, call 1810 Winery at 595-8311.


Assistant Winemaker Luis Mendoza shovels grape hulls into a large box.

Web posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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