Wyoming’s Table Mountain Vineyards grape production continues expansion
Torrington — From a 2004 harvest of 300 pounds, Torrington area grape grower Patrick Zimmerer says the 2009 harvest on their operation, and from those producers they partner with, is tipping the scales at nearly 40 tons and setting an all-time tonnage record.
Zimmerer’s Table Mountain Vineyards (TMV) first planted vines in 2001. Today he says there are about 20-30 growers with six large producers growing the crop. The 2008 harvest by the Zimmerers and their partners was around 25 tons.
The 2009 grape crop, he says, was harvested prior to the cold snap. Now it’s on to the business of making wine. “We have doubled our wine production every year since our onset,” he says. “We will produce 20,000-30,000 bottles from this year’s harvest.”
TMV offers over 10 varieties of wine. “We also have some various fruit wines in addition to our grape wine,” says Zimmerer. “Some are sweet, some are dry and we have a large variety of different flavors and tastes.”
Most recently, TMV launched its “Vinetages Wine Club.” Zimmerer explains, “It is basically community supported agriculture. We are selling limited shares to help our winery grow, expand and build in a tough economy. Members received all sorts of perks and a yearly share of our wine bounty.”
“We at TMV have been faced with the need to grow and expand due to our increasing production,” says Zimmerer. “This CSA project helps us grow while finding those who truly support value added agriculture. We are in the process of building a new winery, which will accommodate our increasing production and wine. We will have room to host parties meetings and events and to expand our business and open it to increase tourism and economic development in our rural area.”
Explaining the process he says, “It takes about two to three weeks for the grapes to become wine. After that the wine is aged, filtered and eventually bottled. It can take anywhere from six to 12 months to get the wine in a bottle. This is a challenge in terms of sales and keeping the product consistent from year to year. The grape sugar levels, fruit quality and weather conditions play a big role in the ultimate product.”
“As the vines mature so does our fruit quality and consistency,” says Zimmerer. “Now that we have a sizable harvest we have moved our focus to harvest quality and can be a bit picky with what to do with the fruit. We have also increased our production equipment, shortened our harvesting times, and have worked on getting more efficient in the winery.”
Zimmerer and 75 others are part of the Wyoming Grape and Wine Association. Some members produce grapes commercially while others have a hobby level interest. The Association hosts an annual pruning clinic as well as a Wine and Vine Tour each August. The group is online at www.WyoGrape.com.
Table Mountain Vineyards is online at www.tablemountainvineyards.com. Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.