It was a comfortable over cast Saturday morning. The sun still hasn’t found her bright and cheery way through the clouds. The vineyard was still lightly damp with dew and on that August morning. The grapes sang the sweet song of harvest time. Due to the hot dry summer the fruit’s sugar numbers had been soaring above their normal August numbers.
Amongst the early morning mummers of the birds and the bugs, the buzz of the morning chatter from the early rising pickers, who had gather outside of the new tasting room which is well on its way to inviting its first guest into sip the delicious nectar from the grapes the rest in front of it, could be heard. They grouped together for the opportunity to harvest the first grapes of the season. Some were first time pickers, having only enjoyed the taste of wine, but never the thrill of the harvest labor. While other were return pickers ready to dirty their knees and work the cores in hopes of enjoying the delicious wine all the sooner.
Al Fulchino, owner and lead farmer of the vineyard, led the way by handing out grape-razors to the group and pointing out which rows of grapes to start picking from. The group headed off into the vineyard to begin their morning adventure. As they pick and grab a small taste here and there, they share stories and small talk as the morning flew by quickly. The pickers learn the best position to crouch down in and the best placement of the bucket to prevent too much bending and shifting while still getting the grapes into the bucket.
Soon the sun pokes her pretty little head out to see what’s going on down in the vineyard and the temps in the field rose quickly. The group, after picking for a steady 4 hours, disengaged from the work to take a short break. Knees were dusted off and hands were washed as samples of fresh squeezed grape juice were passed around for tasting. The juice was sweet and earthy. Purer and more natural tasting then any purchased juice ever could be. The liquid was delicious and refreshing after the fun but hard work. The decision was made to pick one more row before lunch came. So the group eager went back to work picking and tasting. Chatting and bonding, over fresh picked fruit which would one day soon be a staple for each picker to savor in after a long day.
When the row was picked over, lunch was served with wine to compliment the food. No food or wine ever tasted better than that served after a hard morning of work.
Fulchino’s wine is not your typical New Hampshire winery. While there are many great wineries found in New Hampshire, this winery offer something different in its complex flavors and the rich character of the wines. Every sip is an experience and should be savored and not gulped up. The family; Al, his wife Susan, their children and even the honorary wine guy, Pete, are often around and invite everyone into taste their wines as well as enjoy their nursery. They make sure everyone feels like another member of the family sharing stories about the wine, the harvest and the construction of the new tasting room!
I hope everyone has a chance to visit Fulchino’s to taste the wine and appreciate the wonder of the great little vineyard in Hollis! Check them out on facebook!