Mystery Blend from a Hasty Harvest of Unidentified Grapes

Jaclyn Stominger doesn’t know how many vines she has, but it’s a lot of vines. They’re scattered all over her two-acre property. On a trellis, along a fence. Here-and-there in several small vineyards, on the gentle hills behind her family’s new home.

One of several vineyards on the Strominger property, November 30, 2018. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

It was late summer by the time the Stromingers moved to Reno from the Boston area. The grapes were ready, and the birds were gathering. Strominger didn’t know what kind of grapes she had, or how to proceed. She was also unsettled by the sheer volume.

So, she did what anyone would do. She googled, and she found Nevada Sunset Winery.

“My initial thought was, maybe I’ll find somebody who just wants my grapes. You take my grapes, I’ll get some wine,” she told GBN.

Mystery blend from Strominger’s unidentified vines on September 16, 2018. Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

The winery referred Stominger to northern Nevada’s go-to vineyard consultant, Joe Bernardo, who came to take a look.

“Joe said, ‘you need to pick these grape now.’”

Strominger and her kids invited some new school friends to a weekend grape picking party, which was curtailed by the presence of wasps. Bernardo sent some experienced harvest help with a container for the fruit and some understanding of how to deal with the wasp nest.

“We didn’t get to all of the vines,” Strominger said. “The rest became bird food.”

All the harvested fruit was tossed into one container. Bernardo transported it to his home winemaking facility in Mogul, where it was destemmed and crushed with help from the Strominger youngters, ages 11 and 14. The resulting product — 50 gallons — was dubbed “Mogul Mystery Blend” by a few of Bernardo’s Wine Academy students, who also use the facility.

Bernardo and crew have since located tags on most of the Strominger vines, he said in an email, but didn’t elaborate. The rest will have to be identified after bud break when they’re in full leaf, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Stromingers and others await their first taste of the mystery blend, which Grape Basin News will report when it takes place. Jaclyn and husband Mitchell will enroll in the Wine Academy next spring, and look forward to becoming part of the wine community here, she said.

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