The October wine grape harvest is a special time at Rove Winery. This time of the year isn’t just a season for us. It’s a celebration of family, farming, and the rich Gallagher traditions that make our wines exceptional.
There’s something magical about all the activity on the farm as our family and team come together to harvest the many fruits from the year’s careful cultivation. To see the clusters of sun-ripened grapes on the vines waiting to be gathered and made ready to turn into wine.
It’s the culmination of all our farming efforts and traditions – all wrapped up in little round packages of grape skin and juices.
And at the heart of our winery is a commitment to family values and traditions.
Our Family & Team
Rove Winery and all of Gallagher Estate grows and thrives every season because of the people who work the farm.
Without our passionate winemakers, dedicated vineyard workers, and generations of family members, we wouldn’t be able to craft delicious wines or ciders. They’ve all poured their love into the soil and are a part of what makes Rove Winery’s wines so singularly special.
Because of our team’s dedication, we’ve been able to implement sustainable farming practices that help protect the land, the harvest, and our people. They’ve helped Gallagher Estate continue to grow our role of land stewardship.
And we believe you can taste the difference.
Our farming principles guide every decision, from planting to harvest, creating a sense of unity that elevates our wines and brings joy to so many of our loyal guests, wine club members, and dedicated team.
Our Fall Grape Harvest
Our 2023 growing season was really solid.
On average, we get around 2.5 tons of grapes per acre. This year, we’re getting close to 4 tons per acre. Plus, when you add in the additional 5 acres we planted this growing season, that’s a lot of grapes to harvest!
Which is both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking, to be honest.
The gradual warm-up to spring and a very hot, dry summer were ideal for growing this year. September did bring a little rain, but we kept any vineyard diseases under control.
But October can get dicey.
Dry days with sunshine at 50-60° are ideal for the wine grapes. But when frosts start to form or we have a rainy fall session, that’s when seeing those grape-heavy vines goes from exhilarating to worry that we won’t be able to harvest it all in time.
But we believe in your family and team’s ability to come together to bring in most (if not all!) of the harvest to be used in this year’s wine production.
Our 2023 Wines
All of that extra grape tonnage means more flexibility to get creative in the wine cellar. And – bonus! – we can make MORE of our fan-favorite wines.
A great example of this is our estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc. In recent years, we doubled our production and can now offer this Wine Club exclusive wine to everyone this year!
Every day, you’ll find us in the vineyard taking samples and testing grades for ripeness. We look at the brix (sugar content), pH, and acidity values of the grapes. This information helps us decide when to harvest and what type of wines we’ll make.
There is a reason some refer to farming as gambling.
Mother Nature is powerful and has a mind of her own, especially in Northern Michigan. Like any good card player, we watch, wait, and then act.
So we make our plans, but we’re ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.
A normal harvest season can start as early as the end of September – especially if we’re making sparkling wine. And lasts through the first 10 days of November.
This year we started harvest on October 10, 2023.
Our goal is to get everything as ripe as possible before the frost sets in or the days get too wet and chilly.
Our red varietals like a little more sunlight and time on the vine. So we’re hopeful Mother Nature will be on our side and let those grapes ripen to perfection.