Del. Winery's First Harvest Seen as Important for State - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Winery's First Harvest Seen as Important for State's Wine Making Industry

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

MARYDEL, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware continues to try to make its mark on the wine industry. Harvest Ridge is the newest of Delaware's three wineries, and right now it's in the middle of its first harvest.

The winery's owners are hoping a successful harvest will really help push this industry forward in the First State.

It's not a large industry in Delaware. According to Wine America, wineries nationwide boomed - doubling their numbers from 2005 to 2010.

Since Delaware only has three, success of this new one is important to the state industry as a whole.

Walking through his vineyard, it's easy to see the pride Chuck Nunan, managing partner of Harvest Ridge, feels and how excited he is about the harvest.

"Today we're harvesting malbec," Chuck said. "The grapes have been perfect this year with the sandy soil we have."

It was a long wait for the Nunans from planting to harvesting.

"We've been three years trying to get this all put together," said Chip, Chuck's son. "And to finally see it happening is awesome."

"It's very important for us to have a successful harvest," Chuck said. "In business and farming, you have a lot of up front costs. This will be our first harvest, which will allow us to sell our first wines."

The Nunans aren't the only ones watching this harvest with great interest.

"There are a lot of eyes on Delaware right now," Cindy Small, director of Kent County Tourism. "Is it a state that can sustain wine making, grape growing. The wine and beer industry is very popular right now. If Harvest Ridge does a great job, and people see that, who knows? We might be able to lure more people here to start vineyards."

Small says it may also lure new consumers to Delaware wines.

She points out the county has grown a lot in the alcohol creation industry recently - a new winery, a new distillery, a new brewery.

Nunan seeing how this harvest's wine pans out, how it sells, will inform how he moves forward from here. He's got grapes out here for a number of different wines.

"Delaware has not established the grape that we're going to be known for," he said. "You go to Italy, and it's one thing. You go to other parts of the world, and they have a specific grape. Delaware has not done that. "

The vineyard still has about 50 acres available to plant. Nunan says he'll watch the first batch of consumers to help determine what to put on them.

Even though the harvesting is happening now, the wine won't be ready for a while. Reds will be sold next fall. The whites will be ready in the spring.

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