VA Winemaker Turns to Tobacco Barns for a Sweeter Wine
A Virginia winemaker is turning to a uniquely Virginian solution to get his grapes just right. Michael Shaps with Virginia Wineworks has started drying out his grapes in a tobacco barn.
He says the concept might seem strange to most, but the barns are actually perfect for dehydrating the grapes to concentrate their juices and their sugar content for dessert wines.
"The way it works is," Shaps said, "There is a built-in furnace fan system through a vented floor, and the air flows up through the floor and passes through the boxes of grapes, continuously, non-op and dries out the grapes."
Shaps says the concept is similar to freezing grapes before pressing. He says the tobacco barns will also help concentrate flavors when vineyards experience wet seasons, which usually dilute the flavor of the grapes.
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