By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent
Sunny skies prevailed Saturday, Sept. 11, when family members and friends picked grapes, in bunches, at the 4-acre vineyard east of Underwood owned by Bryan and Vicki Severson.
“It takes lots of dedicated friends and family members to help out at harvest time,” said Bryan, a retired Underwood school teacher.
For several years the fruits of their labors have resulted in high quality grapes used for winemaking. This year’s grapes were especially good.
“It basically gets down to having lots of sun, heat and a nice fall for grapes to reach their full potential,” Bryan said.
Having a vineyard takes a considerable amount of time, effort, expense and dealing with all the things that can go wrong on a daily basis.
Vicki says that one of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby, since about 2003, has been the conversations at the vineyard each fall during harvest.
For the grape pickers, this fall labor of love has been a reunion of sorts. After each harvest, there is enjoyable wine tasting outdoors near the Severson home, and complimentary bottles of wine for the volunteers to take home.
Over the years the Seversons have also sold grapes to other personal winemakers, winemaking clubs and area wineries.
Their many years of grape growing and annual harvesting is slowing coming to an end, but the good memories with family and friends will last forever.