Fruit Sourcing, What it Means
People are always surprised when we tell them that we don’t own any vineyards. One of the first questions we are asked when guests arrive at our Tasting House is "where are your vineyards" to which we respond that we source our fruit for vineyards across the North Fork of Long Island and one in the Finger Lakes.
When we started Suhru Wines in 2008 we made the decision to source, or purchase our fruit as opposed to plant our vineyards. This decision was made for a variety of reasons, two of the main factors being time and cost. As a new (at the time) winery brand it was a substantial financial and time commitment to plant and cultivate a vineyard. Vineyards can take anywhere from four to eight years to produce wine quality fruit depending on the varietals and styles you are looking to produce. Additionally, by sourcing our fruit it allows us to focus solely on quality. Sourcing fruit gives us the flexibility to work with many different vineyards, allowing us to select vineyards that each grow the particular varietals we make, the best. This ensures that we use the highest quality fruit available for each of our wines.
Fruit sourcing is a very common occurrence in the wine industry, even by wineries with estate vineyards as each region has a variety of micro-climates which influence the development of different grape varietals in very specific ways. By not limiting ourselves to one location it gives us the flexibility to adjust and adapt to the ever changing weather patterns and climate changes that we see in any given season. We also have the option of bringing on a new varietal, think Teroldego, without having to plant the vines and then wait four or more years before the vines are ready and producing fruit.
Our winemaker Russell’s more than thirty years in the industry have allowed him to make many close and meaningful relationships with the various growers we work with both on Long Island and in the Finger Lakes (where we grow our Riesling fruit). He keeps in close contact and communication with them throughout the growing season which allows us to have a lot of input on what happens in the vineyard.
Russell, and our whole team at Suhru, visit the vineyards on Long Island regularly throughout the growing season to monitor the progress, yields and techniques used in the field. We know what is happening throughout the growing season and are consulted about the optimal time to pick or harvest the fruit. Therefore we have no surprises when the fruit is harvested. The only way to have more input is to grow the fruit ourselves. Although that might be an option at some point in the future, it requires a pretty large initial investment and upkeep. Growing grapes and making wine are two different skill sets. We are choosing to focus all of our attention on what we do best, making the best possible wine from the highest quality fruit!