The sky is clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is a crisp 55 degrees with the wind coming from the south-southwest at 4 miles per hour. The forecast today looks fine for day two of Leaves & Lobsters-sunny with temperatures reaching into the 70's. Lake temperatures: Seneca-67.7 degrees; Keuka-71 degrees-the temperature decline continues.
In the vineyards: Harvest officially started at Varick and Knapp this past Wednesday morning. The crew now consists of 2 members who have worked on it before, one who has had lots of harvest experience but not on the Knapp team, and 2 who are new to the team. While we do not regularly operate with a five-person team we did start that way on Wednesday so that everyone could get experience. Chaz, the vineyard manager at Knapp, has taken over the role of harvester operator. The first day went well although we did have one hydraulic hose that decided it was time to quit. This gave the team the opportunity to demonstrate their mechanical skills, which they did, and the machine was soon up and running. By early afternoon the seedless grapes at Varick and the Siegerrebe at Knapp were "in the bin". At this point our schedule for next week has us harvesting Baco and Seyval.
On Thursday, the press deck team at Glenora sprang into action pressing the Seedless and Siegerrebe. A smooth start for the team with all of the equipment operating as it should. There was one new additional-a new forklift! The "old forklift" was more than beginning to show its age (35 years). While the old lift is still operating we have been told for quite some time that parts are no longer available unless we wanted to dig through the forklift graveyard. So, the decision was made to "add some "new paint" (an ole farmers term for new equipment).
The cellar team was visited by the New York State Agriculture and Markets inspector this past week. Although we know the visit is coming we never know when. Production Manager Tracey was very pleased to report that that the winemaking and cellar teams both received an A+ rating. Since we are considered a food manufacturing plant the inspection is quite detailed and at times is somewhat subjective depending on the inspector - one time we received a demerit with the comment "there was a large furry animal on the crush pad that appeared to be a dog" - it was a dog. Another great one was the inspector who wanted the area over the press deck to be covered because of birds (I am sure you get the idea)-however, remember the grapes that were inside the equipment on the crush pad had been out in an uncovered vineyard a few hours before-anyway.
More cellar news: On Friday the production team put what will be our 2018 Blanc de Blanc into tirage. This is a somewhat complicated project - too long to explain here. However, if you visit Steve and Rachel they will be glad to give you many more details-if you go be sure to pack a lunch. The wine will be available for purchase in 2023-2024.
Chef Orlando and the Kitchen and Restaurant teams will be rolling out their Fall menus on September 25th -48 hours after the start of Fall. Midweek is always the best time to roll out new menus!!
Leaves and Lobsters: While we still have a few unclaimed Lobsters (meaning we can still accept walk-ins) the 2019 event is or will be another successful event. Even Mother Nature, for the most part, was cooperative. We are often asked, "how many years have you been doing this"? Our records seem to be a bit vague in that area-we do recall one year when there was wet snow-so the start of the event must have been before global warming started!
Retail Shop Manager Rachel and the editor attended the Seneca Lake Wine Trail meeting on Tuesday. During the meeting we were presented the results of a comprehensive survey that was targeted at learning more about customers who visit the trail during wine trail sponsored events. It was somewhat eye-opening in that sometime trail members feel the events are too big, and as a result people do not enjoy the events; the survey indicated the opposite, as people seem to enjoy the excitement. It's sort of like going to a dance in a large room with only six couples being there as compared to one in the same room with fifty couples.
Another lesson: the word "experience" used one way, eg: "I had a great experience at the State Fair" , is different than the Wine and Cheese tasting experience (meaning educational/informative) at XYZ winery was not worth the money. Or simply put - offering "experiences" is not the same as having a good time (experience).
Thought for the Week: Talk vs. Action
"It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action."