Spring is in the air! The days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger, and that also means the busy summer season will be here soon. We chatted with Sheri Paynter, the proprietor and winemaker at Off the Grid Organic Winery about how she gets her farm and vineyard ready for the season.
Photo by: Ken Hagen
“We do 90% of our business from May to October, with July and Aug being the busiest months,” says Paynter.
Bottling takes place in the spring so this is one major task that keeps Sheri and her team busy in the months of April and May. Getting the wine into the bottles is not a simple job.
Sheri Paynter bottling wines
”Clarifying wines, making blends, and writing labels are all part of the prep,” says Paynter. “We are also preparing barrels for this coming harvest and need to ensure all the materials are ordered and ready.”
Depending on the weather, the vines will wake up soon, but before bud break, there are a few items on the to-do list.
“Rising temperatures in the spring trigger rehydration to the vine – and the month of May is when we expect this,” explains Paynter. “Because the temperatures dropped to below -20C over the last winter, we are leaving lots of old growth and we are not pruning as much as we usually would.”
Sheri Paynter pruning the vines
The vines are not the only things that Sheri and her team take care of. Off the Grid Winery is home to many animals and spring is the season for vet checkups!
“We also trim their hooves, and de-worm them at this time of year,” says Paynter. “The pens get a major cleaning once the ground isn’t frozen anymore and all the pens get a once over so we can repair loose nails, secure posts and all the barns get a fresh coat of paint.”
The animals are looking forward to summer as the goats, sheep, rabbits, and chickens love the attention from winery guests.
“Our animals can get a bit lonely in the winter without the extra attention,” says Paynter. "By far they enjoy the busy season the most because they love being hand fed by guests and getting pets.”
If you are planning to visit Off the Grid Winery in the coming months, give yourself extra time to do the self-guided farm tour so you can say hi to the animals. As Paynter likes to joke, “I think just like people, animals like to be spoiled, and getting fed a handful of grass instead of having to pick it yourself, kinda feels like going out for dinner!”
Animal lovers will also love the winery’s interactive farm tours on Friday mornings starting this summer!
“We will feature Goats, Sheep, Rabbits, and Chickens on a rotating basis,” says Paynter. “Each week will have a theme, and we will take guests into the pen to meet the resident animals.”
Something else to look forward to is the new wines this year.
“We have new wines coming out starting in April,” says Paynter. “We also are going to host several vertical tastings this year, as we are now old enough of a winery to have 5+ years of vintages.”
Photo by: Ken Hagen
The winery is now open seven days a week, with the food truck opening on May 1, 2023.