• Peggy Van Wagoner

From our vineyard to your toast...

Updated: Oct 31

Fall at INISFREE is when we harvest our *Chambourcin grapes. When we purchased Inisfree, the vineyard had been neglected. Realizing we needed professional help, we approached Modales winery (modaleswines.com) - just down the road - to help nurture our vines back to health. They were gracious enough to send their wine expert to advise and educate us how to prune and care for the vines.

I assume most people that own a vineyard want to make wine. And we did too! But then again, we had no idea how to make wine. As our kids have stated many times - “Dad is not a farmer”. However, there is something about a vineyard that just makes you want to try. Modales helped us with this too. So with our mediocre harvest last year, we made a 5 gallon jug of wine.

For over a year, our wine was fermenting in our wine cellar. Our good friend from Napa, a winemaker/vintner - came for a visit. One afternoon while enjoying cider at McIntosh Winery, (mcintoshorchards.com) we decided it was time for us to have a taste of our “Inisfree Wine”. Returning home, we immediately went to the cellar. This was going to be interesting! We all took a big gulp and abruptly spit it out! OMG - it was horrible! It was so bad, we discussed pouring it out in the middle of 62nd Street. No hurt feelings - We all just had a great laugh!

In the meantime, my husband, Bruce, was contemplating “making jelly” with our grapes with this harvest. Of course, Bruce has never made much of anything in the kitchen - but it was fun hearing him talk about it. He told so many people he was going to make jelly. I just let him keep on talking. He ordered a “Jelly Kit” - 12 jars and instructions from Amazon on how to make jelly. When the “Kit” arrived - I had to speak up. I grew up on a farm and have made lots of jellies and jams and canned many things with my Mother. I knew the tedious process and was pretty sure Bruce was not clear about the time and involvement. I inquired if he realized how much sugar…pectin, how he would need to sterilize the jars….and all the other steps required.

Troy, a friend, happened to be present during this conversation graciously confirmed that this was a huge undertaking - especially with everything else going on - weddings, Bed and Breakfast and property management. Troy had a great suggestion. He would inquire to an Amish lady he knows to see if she would consider making our jelly. Best decision!!!!

Hence - We now have Inisfree Chambourcin Grape jelly and also Chambourcin Grape Juice. It is amazing, organic and our harvest was much more plentiful than we expected. Our harvest made:

73 - 8 oz jars

89 - 4 oz jars

65 - 1 1/2 oz jars

45 quart jars of juice

It’s a start

• Thanks Modales - for helping us bring our vineyard back to life.

• Thanks to Bruce for harvesting the grapes and for the brilliant idea to make jelly instead of wine.

• Thanks to Troy for leading us to Mary.

• Thanks to Mary for making our jelly and juice.

• And thank you for taking this journey with Inisfree Farm.

We proudly serve our Chambourcin grape jelly with breakfast at our Bed & Breakfast and can be purchased in our gift store at the farm - both in 8 oz and 4 oz jars.

(Chambourcin grapes - a purple-skinned, French American hybrid grape. Noted for its distinctive dark coloring and herbaceous aroma.)

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