Ripe for the Picking

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Summer crowds may be winding down for the season, but activity is picking up over at Jackson Hole Winery. The aspens are shedding more of their yellowed leaves by the day, while the snow line around the valley creeps to lower elevations. It’s harvest season.jh winery

Jackson Hole Winery’s winemaker, Anthony Schroth, walked us through the winemaking process. These days, there’s a lot of back and forth between Jackson and California for the JH Winery team. Every fall, the folks at JH Winery truck in 30 tons of grapes from five different California vineyards. Those 30 tons equate to 2,500 cases of wine. Before the grapes are picked, Schroth will measure the sugars and test the acids in the grapes, looking for balance, specific flavors, and the right tannins.

wine grapes

Pinot Noir grapes in the fermentation process.

Upon being deemed ready for harvesting, JH Winery team members will begin long days of grape picking in California. Packed into the trucks, the grapes are driven back to Jackson, and crushing begins. Once the grapes have been crushed, they start the fermentation process. At high altitude, the fermentation process slows. The cool mountain temperatures preserve the wine’s aromatics, while in warmer climates the product would have to be cooled down.

wine press

Jackson Hole Winery’s wooden basket press.

Next, the grapes are loaded into a wooden basket press. Toward the end of this step, Schroth and his team are able to get a first taste of the product before it goes into barrels. The wine will spend around two years in the barrel. At JH Winery, their cellar is below 50 F most of the year.

So how did JH Winery come to be? Schroth went to college at Sonoma State, pursuing a marketing degree and playing baseball. Toward the end of his studies, he changed to a wine business concentration. He did multiple internships in California and caught the wine bug, going on to start his first label there. After acquiring a dearth of knowledge and experience, he sought out to make wine in Jackson, at 6,229 feet above sea level. He made his first batch of Jackson Hole Winery wine in 2009, with the Chardonnay being released in 2011.

Jackson Hole Winery is located on Creamery Lane, off of Boyles Hill Road. Prior to becoming the winery, the property was originally the Jackson Hole dairy. Visitors can enjoy a tasting at the Jackson Hole Winery property by appointment, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. In the warmer months, the tasting room is a 100-year-old barn with a patio on Spring Creek and picturesque valley views. Today, all the Jackson Hole Winery wines, eight in total, are medal winners. In three to four years, a port wine will become available. During the tasting, try pairing some of the red wines with one of JH Winery’s latest products: chocolates by the San Francisco chocolate factory.wine barrels

 

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About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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