Saturday, December 7, 2013
Who can argue that this is not THE most wonderful time of the year? All the wine is resting in tanks and we have not begun the weekly grind of pruning. We are still open and people are stopping by in droves to stock up on gifts and cellar (stocking?) stuffers. We get to visit and talk with our customers without feeling guilty about not doing a dozen other things. The weather is cool but we have spiced wine and our cozy tasting room to keep us warm.
I just love the Holiday Season! Jody has the winery decorated and we are holding several small Holiday parties. Unfortunately we only have room for 20 - 30 guests so we have to deny most of the requests. However the small, office parties and groups of friends who gather to celebrate are another thing that makes this season special. If you cannot make it out, please have a safe and happy holiday. If you stop by make sure you say hello and Merry Christmas.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Here is a picture of the new test tool which we just acquired to improve our wine quality. Most of my biology students and any chemistry student should recognize it as a chromatography assay. While most wineries choose to send their samples off to a lab and have their results printed, Chris and I take satisfaction from actually running and interpreting our analytic tests in-house. I have previously blogged about our refractometer, total acidity titration, free SO2 and density tests just to name a few. Today's test was from a tool to determine what acids remain in our wines after our primary and malolactic fermentations. As we have stated in our tasting room to any customer who cares to listen, we do not put our white wines through a malolactic fermentation or barrel age our whites. However, we have begun to both malolactic ferment and barrel age our reds. This chromatography test shows the results of our friendly malolactic bacterial inoculation. The left 3 lanes are our standards and the lanes 4-8 are our tank samples. Any acids that remain visible in our samples mean they are present in our wines. Thankfully, our malolactic bacteria eliminated the sharp, acidic taste of our Cab. franc and Chambourcin. Now, all we need is an 15 month rest in toasted French oak barrels. The results of this years wines should speak for themselves.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Here are some evening pictures of the vines against the fall sky. I took them yesterday as I walked among the vines. From top to bottom, they are Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, and Chardonnay. These vines were just beginning to go dormant for the winter when the temperature dropped like a rock. It made me think of a year back in 1980 when the temperatures fell too quickly for the vines to acclimate. They were caught with sap still in their trunks when the temperature went down to -28 and people lost 50 - 75% of their vines in one week. The grape growers still refer to it as the Christmas Massacre of 1980 in New York and I only hope we don't get to see the same thing in our vineyard.
We are making plans to mulch all the grapes in the next several weeks. We have saved up all of our organic compost from our grape pressing and mixed that with our horse manure and wood shavings. The result is a beautiful, rich mixture which promises to protect and nourish these vines throughout the upcoming year.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
We were also able to transfer the fruit wines which are now in their final stage of maturation and some of the small changes we made in these wines this year and last year are also paying off nicely. You may, or may not remember that I talked about a change we made in the type of yeast which we used for last year's fruit wines. We were very happy with the results of that experiment and our increasing sales of these wines shows proof that our customers were happy too. This year we kept the same yeast but changed our tannins and pectic enzyme to give these wines a little softer feel on the palate. Initially, these changes seem to have also made a very positive difference. We expect to release all our new fruit wines in June so we will let you be our final judge.
Meanwhile, we will just have to wait and continue to enjoy the fruits of last season's labors. Sometimes, the waiting is the hardest part!!!
Monday, November 11, 2013
This past weekend, Jeff and Kisa Skelton and all our friends at the winery came together to pick, crush, press and ferment the late harvest Vidal Blanc. The top picture shows a group shot of our picking crew. We enjoyed a beautiful day and a whole lot of friends made short work of our 1000 lbs of grapes. The final press produced 100 + gallons of amazing juice. Jeff helped crush and press the grapes before we introduced the special Sauternes yeast. Our juice tastes amazing and if everything works out the way it should, the final wine will taste amazing and should be ready by next September. I am looking forward to trying this wine as it develops.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
These last two weekends we are hosting the Hershey/Harrisburg Wine Trail's Cornucopia Quest. We have so much to celebrate because this season's harvest has been such a memorable event. Now, we have the chance to showcase our beautiful vineyard, tasting room and employees to everyone who stops in. The first weekend we were pleasantly surprised to receive so many out-of-state visitors and visitors who were not part of the wine trail's Cornucopia Quest. It was such a rewarding day with so many smiles and kind words. The first week was a blast and we hope the upcoming weekend is just as much fun. If you were not able to visit, stop by this weekend even if you are not part of the Cornucopia Quest. We would love to show you are place.