Despite a large crop loss in the spring due to frost, Wollersheim Winery is on track as their grape harvest is in full swing. Philippe Coquard, owner of the winery says after the frost they were hit with drought like many others. But they utilized drip irrigation to help them get through.
“The area is still eight to nine inches behind in rainfall. But our harvest is on track with previous years,” says Coquard. “A silver lining to the drought is that our grapes are showing higher sugar levels.”
Coquard says he’s keeping an eye on their pH levels as when it’s really hot, they are burning acid faster than they’re making sugar. He says continuously monitoring these levels is helping him know when to harvest which fields. This is key in order to get the best yield possible.
The winery experienced a loss due to frost earlier in the yea. However secondary buds have helped to mitigate the damage. The whites are looking to be 60-70% normal, while the reds are at 30-40%.
He says, “We will still be down in our total yield. But I’d rather take a little of high quality than too much of so-so qualities.”
In response to the pandemic, Wollersheim Winery has set up outdoor seating areas, which have been popular with locals. Coquard says that each day there are about 150 people outside enjoying the winery.
“We thrive on using local products. We use Wisconsin oak, Wisconsin grain for the distillery, and squash and tomatoes from local farmers. This is our way of supporting those who support us.”
In terms of the distillery, Wollersheim Winery is focusing on brandy production, with their 10-year-old brandy being a particular highlight. They have brandy old-fashioned in cans, developed their own recipe for brandy old- fashioned syrup, and sell kits to local restaurants and bars.