Chateau Grand Traverse Awaits Cooler Temperatures to Harvest

Even though it may be sunny, Chateau Grand Traverse says in the last week temperatures at at their vineyard have dropped almost 20 degrees at night.

But Chateau Grand Traverse says it isn’t ready to harvest the grapes just yet.

“We look at a harvest date based on the accumulative temperature data, like how many degree days average. Right now we’re at 2,080 degree days as of today,” said owner Eddie O’Keefe.

Degree days help to measure the rise and fall of heat by comparing the difference in cool and hot air.

This number helps Chateau Grand Traverse owner Eddie O’Keefe determine when the first frost will hit—which tell them the ideal day to harvest.

“Usually were at 22-2,300 degree days is when we harvest. That’s usually, the 20 year average, around October 5th is when we start harvesting,” O’Keefe said.

They say pinpointing the time when the temperature will drop off helps them be more prepared for the multiple days it will take to collect the grapes.

“If we were to really boil it down we have about 15 days of really harvesting that we’re doing,” O’Keefe said. “If we got a frost, which again usually doesn’t happen until about mid October, we still have about 10 days or more that we can conceivably get the grapes off the vine.”

Gauging this date can make or break the quality of the grapes and ultimately the wine.

“We get one chance a year, one year at a time, and so this is it. We really have to dial it in and get it right and do the right things in a very fast period of time,” O’Keefe said.48ea1e48 2563 43dd Ab86 6d788cc350b8

They also have to account for other problems.

O’Keefe says, “It’s really rain and birds and vermin that could really cause damage at this point.”

Chateau Grand Traverse says next weeks warmer weather will help their grapes sugar level amid the cooler temperatures.