Destemmed, crushed, fermented and aged

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Larry Lopez, farm and vineyard manager for Les Bourgeois Winery, rides a grape harvester on Oct. 4 during the last pick of Norton grapes for the growing season. Up with his team since the early hours, Lopez will haul away a flat-bed truckload of tiny deep-purple Norton grapes by 9 a.m. (Photo by Jessica Naudziunas/Harvest Public Media)

From time to time we like to share some of our favorite episodes of Field Notes. This episode, which originally aired in October 2011, explores Missouri's burgeoning wine industry.

Missouri is home to almost 400 vineyards that employ thousands of agricultural workers who pick, crush and nurture grapes like the Norton, the official state grape. Around $60 million worth of Missouri wine is sold each year. Today on Field Notes, we ask an expert to taste a little of that wine. Then we tag along on the last harvest of the growing season for Les Bourgeois Winery, the third largest winery in the state. From the vineyard, it's a 20-minute drive to the winery where the grapes are brought to be destemmed, crushed, fermented and aged.

The take-away: There's an awful lot of work on the agriculture side that goes into a glass of wine.


The Norton grapes at Les Bourgeois Winery are ready for harvest:



The inside of the grape harvester looks like a mechanical mouth:



Oak powder is poured over the harvested grapes, the first step in the aging process:



Cory Bomgaars is the head wine maker at Les Bourgeois: