The sky is cloudy over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca on this this second morning of Dosage Your Own Weekend at Glenora. The temperature is 34 degrees, with a feel-like report of 24 degrees which the result of the wind which is coming from the west at 14 miles per hour. Lake temperature; Keuka - 42 degrees, one degree cooler than it was on December 31, 2018 - Global cooling?
In the vineyards: The vineyard teams started the week walking through 8-10 inches of snow, which by mid-week had melted creating some mud. However in certain locations it was dry enough to finish some of our hilling jump project. Of course pruning goes on. We will bring in our documented worker team soon after the first of the year to assist us with the pruning.
One of the biggest events that occurred this past week happened on Tuesday afternoon when James, the Wedding and Events Manager at Glenora, was presented with the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance's "Excellence in Customer Service Award for 2019. This is a significant honor for James as he was selected from the many customer service representatives in the 14 counties in Finger Lakes Region, and there are 100's. Under James' leadership the Inn at Glenora has been awarded or inducted into The Knot's (a premier wedding planning publication) Best Weddings Hall of Fame for 7 consecutive years. The Knots's award is based on the comments and reviews received from brides that have had their weddings at Glenora during the preceding year. The Knot award is not only a tribute to James but also to the entire Glenora Team for their hospitality and customer service. Congratulations to James and all!!
Some interesting numbers from Anne, Glenora and Knapp's regional sales associate: During the period from November 15 through November 27th, Anne and her In Wine Shop Tasting team conducted 20 unique tastings. Those tastings resulted in 967 people trying our wines of which 47% purchased wine - 460 bottles (38.33 cases). It certainly cannot be said that we do not support our accounts or assist our distributor. Thanks go out to Anne and her team!
More reports: Retail Sales Manager, Rachel, reported that she and her team hosted a total of 5469 visitors during the two weekends of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's Deck the Halls event. She also has told us that she and her team conducted their first ever Cyber Monday event which resulted in 78 orders leaving on Tuesday - another happy day for the FedEx folks as well! The retail shop team is now into their 12 Days of Christmas event - a visit to the retail shop will be very rewarding.
Not to be outdone Missy, Inn Manager, conducted a Cyber Monday event as well which resulted in 211 room nights being sold. Another benefit of the room night sales is meals in Veraisons and visits to the retail shop.
More numbers: The Maintenance team reported that they moved 8 inches of snow during the recent snow storm - everyone has numbers!
Executive Chef Patrick, who is new to Team Glenora team, tells us that he and his team will be introducing their new Winter Lunch, Dinner and desert menus on December 19th - two days prior to the winter solstice!! He also notes that we have 3 openings for guest chefs for our Pasta Night Series. One does not have to be a stellar chef, just have a lot of friends who want to watch you "try" to cook pasta. Also we contribute/donate/give $2.00 (10.55% of the revenue, not of the proceeds which would be much less) for each meal served, to the Chef's favorite Charity.
Words: It is the time of year when we hear "Have a Merry Christmas, if I don't see you before"-what happens if they do see you before? One has to wonder who started that saying and when!
This weekend, yesterday and today is our annual Dosage Your Own event. Lots of folks "creating" their own sparkling wine. Thanks go out to Steve, Rachel, Tracey and Kerry for their parts in making the event a success.
Last of the year: This afternoon we will be hosting a wedding and reception, it may be our last one of the year-but there are still 16 days left-who knows!!
Thought for the week: History
"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present."
It is a cloudy, damp morning on this this last Sunday in November over the vineyards of Glenora and along the shores of Seneca. There are and have been a few flakes (snow) floating about on occasion. The temperature is 35 degrees with a feel like reading of 32 degrees, a result of the wind which is coming from the northwest at 5 miles per hour.
Lake temperature: Keuka - 47 degrees. The somewhat rapid decline in the lake temperature is beginning to slow. The lake is now at the approximately the same temperature as it was a year ago at this time which means we should be seeing a lake temperature reading of 43 degrees on December 31 -the turn of the decade
Thanksgiving forecast (weather): A cloudy day with a temperature high of 35 degrees and a low of 26 No precipitation!
Vineyard news: The vineyard teams continues their work on late season trellis repair - replacing broken posts, repairing broken trellis wires (not many of those these days), repairing end post anchors, and beginning to get pruning weights which will be used to determine the amount of fruiting buds to be left for next year's harvest. It is also DEER season!!
In the wineries: The Winemaking Team at CLR (Tim and Walrus (Wally)) emptied the last of their red fermenters this past week (Cabernet Sauvignon) and have started to dismantle their press deck - meaning putting the press, must pump, pumice elevator and other small pieces ofequipment be placed into winter storage. The harvest bins will soon follow.
At Glenora and Knapp winemakers Steve and Rachel report that all of the wines that are supposed to have gone through malo-lactic fermentation have done so with one exception. They, the wines, are close to being 3-4 months ahead (malo-lactic fermentation) of where they have been in some previous years - another benefit of our lees floatation device which allows us to start fermentations much earlier.
The production team had the bottling line, the disgorging line, and the pouch line all in operation this past week. There are no deer chasers in this department!!
It is wine trail event weekend on both the Seneca Lake and Cayuga Wine Trails. The Seneca Lake Trail has just over 3200 people participating and the Cayuga Trail has just over 1700 people participating. The Glenora Team offered Carrot Ginger Soup as their food pairing - prepared by the Veraisons Culinary team led by Chef Mitchell. Knapp and CLY offered Wild Mushroom Cabernet Sauvignon Soup as their food pairing created and prepared by Chef John, Knapp Vineyard Restaurant. Combined there were over 250 gallons of soup made for the weekend. A bit of irony -- Several; years ago the Seneca Lake Wine Trail started many of their events on Friday afternoon. While customer count was low on Friday for the first few years it has grown significantly, where now close to 18-20% of the three day visitor count participates on Friday. On Friday the CLR team hosted 612 visitors and the Glenora Team hosted 528 DTH visitors.
If you would like to create your own Sparking Wine for the holidays and other special celebrations there is only one opening on Saturday December 14 and three on Sunday December 14 for our Dosage Your Own event. You will work with Winemakers Steve and Rachel, who are assisted by Vice President of Production Tracey and General Manager Kerry. Upon completion you will not only have your own sparkling wine but you will receive the coveted "Glenora Certificate -- Master of Dosage" thus allowing you to put the initials -"GWCMOD" after your name or signature.
On Friday, Winemaker Steve gave us an update on his Glutstar gluthione project. Steve is working in cooperation with one of our fermentation product suppliers using this material which long story short attaches to the aging-oxidation materials/elements in wine during fermentation, by doing this winemakers will be able to use less anti-aging materials in their wines. Steve is looking into this for Homo sapiens. Winemaker Rachel, being much younger, is not involved/\.
The waving of the green flag marking the beginning of Great American Business Race to the Bottom will occur on Friday-Black Friday; again on Saturday -small business Saturday; and yet again on Monday - Cyber Monday. Those businesses in the race, almost all, "race" to see who can entice customers with the largest discounts or give a ways. The real winners (businesses) in this race might be those who come in last.
Thought for the Week: Progress
"Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl."
With the New Year fast approaching, our minds are on our favorite celebratory beverage: sparkling wine. After all, what’s New Year’s Eve without popping the cork on a bottle of bubbly? At Glenora, we’ve been making sparkling wine for over 30 years, with our winemaker Steve DiFrancesco at the helm of production for the past 20.
He first joined our team as an assistant winemaker in the late 80’s, as part of an ambitious expansion program with an emphasis on sparkling wines, after having worked with the excellent sparkling wines of Gold Seal Vineyards. He later became winemaker at Lucas Vineyards, helping to expand their production of both still and sparkling wines, before returning to Glenora in 1995.
To dig a little deeper, we sat down with Steve to talk bubbles and learn a bit more about his experiences with sparkling wine production over the years and looking to the future. Take a look!
How long have you been making sparkling wine in the Finger Lakes?
My first job in the wine industry, just out of college, was at Bully Hill Vineyards, riddling tirage in a cold cellar, in the very cold January of 1979. Having just moved here from Florida, I was freezing, and quickly had blisters on my fingers which soon turned to calluses. Within a few months I got a job at Gold Seal Vineyards in the lab, and I worked with Guy DeVaux, of Mumm Napa Valley fame, in the experimental cellar.
What sparked your interest in sparkling wine production?
Gold Seal was known for very good sparkling wines, especially under the Charles Fournier label. Guy DeVaux and I experimented with tiny quantities of sparkling made with “exotic” varieties such as Aligoté, a somewhat obscure Burgundian-like variety.
What is most exciting/rewarding about making a sparkling wine in the traditional method?
There are so many facets of sparkling wine production, from the grapes, to the primary fermentation, to Tirage, disgorging and dosage (see definitions below). Each step of production is an opportunity to influence and elevate quality.
Has there been a certain vintage of Glenora Brut that has stood out to you?
There have been many great sparkling wines made at Glenora. The 1985 Blanc de Blancs was an early one, made from Sawmill Creek and Springledge Farms grapes. The 1988 Blanc de Blancs won major awards in California in its day. The 1991 Brut Rosé was very nice. 1998 Blanc and Bruts were great.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the 2006 Brut?
We filled quite a bit of tirage from the 2006 vintage. It was a generally cool year, though it was very nice for sparkling wine grapes. We have been disgorging the 2006 for about two years now. It’s been fun to watch how the wine has evolved in tirage over these past 9 years.
Rumor has it, you have a couple Blanc de Blancs in the works. When can we expect to see them on the shelves?
There are 2014 and 2015 versions of Blanc de Blancs in tirage. We should start disgorging them at the end of 2017.
What potential does sparkling wine have in the FLX?
It seems like many of us have forgotten that the FL was most famous for sparkling wines from the 1860’s through the 1970’s. Some of us know that world-class sparkling wines can continue to be produced here.
Thank you for taking the time to read our latest blog and Happy New Year! Pop open a bottle of bubbly and raise a glass!
Browse our sparklers:
2006 Methode Champenoise Brut
Methode champenoise: The traditional French Champagne winemaking method used for producing sparkling wine.
Tirage:The process of bottling a cuvee with the addition of active yeast and sugar in order to induce a second fermentation. The carbonation produced by this second fermentation is trapped in the bottle, producing the effervescence of sparkling wines.
Disgorge: The process by which the sediment collected in the neck of the Champagne bottle during the riddling process is frozen and expelled prior to the final corking.
Dosage: The liqueur, or sugar dissolved in reserve wine, added to sparkling before final corking. The dosage finishes the sparkling wine and determines its level of sweetness.