Bainbridge Island vineyards starts the harvest | SLIDESHOW

Got grapes? Bainbridge Island sure does.

The vineyard that was founded by islanders Gerard and Jo Ann Bentryn wasn’t active over the past couple years. The farmland off Day Road was tended and the vines were thriving, but because of health reasons, the Bentryns had to postpone the harvests.

Farmer Betsey Wittick, who has helped them with the wine operation over the past 15 years, wasn’t about to let another year go by without a grape harvest to fill some barrels.

Wittick, along with some volunteer helping hands, began picking this week. They picked Siegerrebe grapes, a German variety that produces white wine.

“We did it pretty fast,” she said. “I just finished pressing, but I will be doing some more batches next week. We haven’t started fermenting yet.”

Wittick said that the Siegerrebe grapes were a little tardy this season.

“The spring was a little late, so (the grapes) are a little bit late,” she said. “Normally we would have picked this variety in September.”

And the harvest isn’t over just yet. More varieties of grapes — such as Madeleine Angevine, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Müller-Thurgau — are ripening on the vine and will be ready soon.

The wine will have to spend some time in a barrel before it can be bottled and enjoyed. Wittick said it will be about a year.

When the wine does hit shelves, it will be another great local treasure reaped from island soil.

“It’s a great compliment to all the local foods we have here,” Wittick said.


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