DERRY — LaBelle Winery recently began planting a new vineyard at its Derry location off Route 111.
In a press release, Joshua Boisvert, LaBelle’s vineyard manager, said 1,600 vines have been planted on three acres adjacent to the future location of the winery’s sparkling wine production facility and tasting room.
Grape varieties planted include petit pearl, Cayuga and Itasca, all of which are cold hardy and able to withstand temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vineyard planting will conclude in 2022.
The vines, in the form of bare rootstock, were ordered in November 2020 from Double A Vineyards in Fredonia, New York. They were stripped of their soil and stored between 35 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit in order to keep them dormant during shipping.
“The vine stocks were shipped in boxes surrounded by moistened wood shavings. They were essentially sticks with roots,” Boisvert said in the release. “The plants arrived earlier than we were ready to plant them due to unsettled weather, so we had to bring them out of dormancy before planting them using peat moss and a fish emulsion.”
LaBelle’s Vineyard Club members, along with LaBelle Winery co-owners Amy LaBelle and husband Cesar Arboleda, friends, family members and winery employees — 40 people in total — planted the vines in a single day in late June.
LaBelle, who in addition to co-owning the winery with Arboleda serves as its winemaker, said, “Planting a vineyard is a very grounding process.
“It requires continued stewardship of the land and vines for many years to come,” she said. “Sharing in the experience of the initial planting, and future harvests, with our dearest supporters and friends is one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences we have at LaBelle Winery. It’s something we genuinely look forward to.”
The rows of vines were set north to south in order to provide the plants with optimal sun exposure.
A 4,000-square-foot area in the center of the vineyard was reserved as a venue for wedding ceremonies and other celebrations. The sparkling wine production facility will be built with two terraces flanking the structure and will overlook the vineyard.
The new vineyard, which was previously a golf driving range, has an interesting layout consisting of small hills. The rocky soil is not overly nutritious, which is suitable for grape vines, according to Boisvert. All-natural neem oil will be used for controlling pests such as Japanese beetles.
The first grape harvest will be in 2024 and will be used to make estate sparkling wine, including a sparkling rosé.
LaBelle officially cut the ribbon on its new Derry facility in June.