According to area fruit growers, there should be plenty of grapes and apples available in West Michigan this fall for home wine and cider making.
Jim Hill of Hill’s Brothers Orchards reports that the apple trees at his family’s Fruit Ridge location are heavy with fruit and that picking and pressing should begin around mid-September. Hill anticipates that the cost for his cider this year will be between $2.75 and $3.00 per gallon for folks who bring in their own containers.
Brian Taylor of Taylor Ridge in Allegan said that early ripening grapes such as Marquette, Reliance, Brianna and La Crescent should be ready for picking at his vineyard in early September while the harvesting of the late ripening varieties like Cabernet Franc, Concord, and Noiret should start in mid or late October. “We had one night of beneficial frost which helped to produce a more balanced crop,” Taylor said. “Overall we will have a good amount of all varieties.”
This year there will again be specific days and times when we will offer the free use of our wine- and cider-making equipment in the parking lot behind the store. On four consecutive Saturdays beginning on September 21, our motorized crusher/de-stemmer, manual apple crusher and fruit presses will be available for free on-site use. Siciliano’s staff members will also be demonstrating basic wine- and cider-making techniques on those days and will aid in sugar and acid adjustments.
Anyone wishing to use the on-site equipment on days other than the four Saturdays (September 21 and 28 & October 5 and 12) may do so for a nominal fee. Call the store at 616-453-9674 for more details.