Since Aug. 18, Billy and Shannon Newby and several of their family members and friends have been working hard at this year’s harvest.
Newby Farm and Vineyard, off Billy Pyle Road, is in harvest mode. Since mid-August they’ve harvested about 14½ tons of grapes.
By the time they’re all done, they will have harvested about 20 tons.
Around 35 people — friends and family — have been pitching in to help with the monumental task of harvesting and processing that many grapes.
“After we get all the grapes picked they’ll have to go to be crushed and de-stemmed, pressed into juice, fermented, aged and then bottled,” Newby said.
And it’s all done in-house.
“Everything happens right here,” he said. “It’ll be about a year before these grapes end up in a bottle, but we do everything right here at the farm.”
The Newbys started planting grapes at the farm in 2014. They currently produce several varieties of wine, from whites to reds, rosés and blushes.
“Shannon and I are involved in every aspect of production,” Newby said. “From planting to picking, making the wine and bottling. None of it happens without our direct work and input. I’m everything from winemaker to janitor.”
At the recent New York International Wine Competition, Newby Farm and Vineyard was named Georgia Winery of the Year. Its Harmony wine took a silver medal in the rosé category while the Blanc DuBois took a bronze medal for that variety.
The farm now ships wine to 42 states — but many bottles also end up right here on Broad Street, at their popular tasting room where locals can sit and sample all the types of wine the farm produces.
But the Newbys still have more progress planned. They’ve set a deadline of summer 2022 for opening the farm to tours and tastings.
“It’ll be open every weekend,” Newby said. “People will be able to come the vineyard, tour the place and taste the wines. We’ll have music bands and other activities.”
“This year has been hard,” he added. “All the rain and storms have made it really difficult. We’ve been battling fungus and diseases, and one of our harvests fell on a holiday weekend so we didn’t have as many people helping us. But it’s still very rewarding and we’re excited for the future.”