Sips of Glenora - the official blog of Glenora Wine Cellars

Gene Pierce
January 5, 2020 | Gene Pierce

Glenora Gazette, Vol. 5, No. 1-20

It is more of a winter like morning in the vineyards of Glenora and along the shores of Seneca on this the first Sunday of the third decade of the 21st century. The sky is cloudy and the temperature is 29 degrees but as a result of the wind which is coming from the northwest at 13 miles per hour, the temperature feels like it is 18 degrees.

Lake temperature: Keuka is now at 44 degrees which is up from 40 degrees that was recorded on December 20th. Obviously the warm weather and rain of this past week has had an impact - messing up the ice fishing and ice boating!

In the vineyards: Pruning continues with the vineyards team starting their days in the vineyards as soon as they can see the vines-which is usually about a half hour before sunrise. While the weather (warmer) has made pruning conditions much more pleasant we always have concerns when there are extended warm periods in late December and early January. We have had temperatures that reach 50 degrees this past week which is not conducive to maintaining or developing vine cold hardiness. As we have mentioned before we always recall what has become known as the "Christmas Eve Massacre of 1980", The temperatures prior to Christmas Eve 1980 had been relatively warm (like this past week) and had reached the mid-50's on Christmas Eve Day, The temperatures then plunged to a minus 10-15 depending on vineyard location on Christmas Eve night and Christmas morning. The result was extreme fruiting bud and truck damage on many of the vinifera varieties which in turn significantly reduced the 1981 harvest-39 years ago!

Vines budding

Interesting: a not in my backyard thing-wine tariffs. We are hearing lots of concerns being expressed on the current wine tariffs and possible new or increased tariffs, by the wine industry urging people to speak up against them. The irony is that where were these folks during the past number of years when the dairy industry (farmers like grape growers) were and are severely impacted by tariffs, the same question could be asked regarding support for the corn, soybean, pork and beef producers that have been impacted by these tariffs.

This coming week our sales and marketing teams will be meeting to review and finalize our participation in many of the programs offered by the various wine and tourism organizations. While the budgets have been developed and approved for these programs/organizations we will be reviewing the programs that have been proposed by the organizations. At the time we develop our budgets many of the organizations had not yet fully developed their programs for the year (sort of like just send us the money and we will give you the details later). So now that those programs are in place, or nearly so, we can review them and then decide on our participation level. To a degree the old ROI (potential return on investment thing). It is very easy to get trapped in the "we have always done that" or we need to be good industry partners and support these organizations. That thinking may have worked in the early days of our industry-not so sure it is the case today.

We will be taking part in the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's Global Eats and Treats Event being held on January 17-19. We will be traveling the Globe to Jamaica and will be serving Sweet Plantain Tacos with Black Bean Hummus and a Spicy Sweet Potato Purée. For more information on the event and the many other opportunities presented by members of the Seneca Lake Wine trail visit   Take the time to "click about" the website as there is lots of information, including what each participating winery will be serving, and the recipe, during the event. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail website is one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive wine trail website in the United States - check it out. By doing so you will have no excuse to not know "what is happening" along the wine trail - and who is doing it!

It will be great to have a full 5 day business work week (consistent days ) starting tomorrow, While we enjoy the holidays having them midweek has made for two Fridays (Tuesday and Friday) and two Mondays (Thursday and Monday) for each of the past two weeks. Next year, because of "Leap Year", both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on a Friday-hence a three day weekend-start planning!

Did you know: That this is the third time that January 5th has fallen on a Sunday in this century-2003, 2014, 2020!!

Thought for the week: Business
"More business is lost every year through neglect than through any other cause."

Time Posted: Jan 5, 2020 at 10:16 AM Permalink to Glenora Gazette, Vol. 5, No. 1-20 Permalink
Gene Pierce
November 17, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 17, No. 11-19

The sky is clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 21 degrees; however, if you are outside, it feels like 13 degrees - a result of the wind which is coming from the south southeast at 5 miles per hour.

A snow covered vineyard after our first squall of the season.

More weather news: Looking at the forecast for the coming week and for the balance of November it appears we have seen that last of our 50 plus degree temperatures as the weather gurus are telling us to expect daily temperature highs to be in the 40 degree range with lows in the mid 20's and not a lot of precipitation. So the weather conditions appear to be fine for travel for next weekend's Seneca Lake Wine Trail's Deck the Halls event and the Cayuga Wine Trail's Holiday Shopping Spree Event. The forecast seems fine for Thanksgiving travel as well.

In the vineyard: The vineyard teams were VERY HAPPY that harvest had wrapped up the preceding week as this past week brought sleet, ice, snow and wind to the vineyards (and every place else). So in general, this past week was one of gathering up and putting away harvest equipment, harvest bins, and picking trays. The teams have started and will continue to "walk rows" checking for broken wires and posts that will be repaired before winter sets in. They also continue the hilling up project as well as applying potash to the vineyards that are in need of the same. We will also be reviewing the yields from a few of our older vineyards, and perhaps making the decision to retire some of them. Some of that is driven by yields (tons per acre) and some by the marketability and prices paid for the grapes which come from those vineyards.

On the Press Deck: The activity there has slowed significantly with the only activity this past week was the emptying of red fermenters: Cabernet Sauvignon that had been harvested the preceding week. Vice President of Production Tracey will not be wasting any time disassembling the press deck and wrapping up the equipment for winter storage.

In the cellar: With harvest/pressing finished for 2019, the Cellar team has returned to bottling and sparkling wine work on a full time basis. This also includes resuming some of our custom wine projects.

Our cellar team working on a tank of red wine, scraping skins.

Last Saturday's 43rd Annual Nouveau celebration was a success even in spite of the very cold weather (thanks Joel for keeping us warm). The wine, a Lemberger or Blaufrankish (a name that is on the same level as Limberger) was very well received and we heard, for the 42nd time, the comment "best ever". There was, "no best ever" comment for the first wine - for obvious reasons.

Last evening Chef John and his team at the Vineyard Restaurant at Knap presented their November Wine Dinner, "All that Jazz." Each of the five courses was themed around a very recognizable jazz tune, which was performed by a live artist (beats the alternative which we have thought was the case in some situations). Next month's dinner will wrap up the wine dinners for the season and hence is themed "All Wrapped Up" - December 7th.

It was another week or so of winery association meetings as during that 10 day period there were two wine trail meetings, a wine alliance meeting and a marketing/promotion organization meeting (there may have been a couple of chamber of commerce meetings held as well). If there is a common thread, it is that the same people seem to take leadership roles in many of these organizations and have done so for years. In many cases the organizations continue to do the same thing or to offer the same programs year after year after year. They, the organizations, often times wonder why they do not see an increase in support or membership - could it be there are no leadership opportunities/openings for people who are new in the industry, or the organizations offer programs never seem to change?

How much wine for Thanksgiving? Unless your guests or family do not enjoy wine, you might use this guide sent to us by long time Glenora supporter Diane Wolcott. Diane tells us roughly a bottle person - of course you would have several different types which would be shared. The only exception to that rule is that the chef who gets their own bottle of sparkling wine to enjoy will preparing the meat in addition to the wines served with the meal. (And then there should be a bottle or two for the dishwashing team!!)

This coming week the retail teams at Glenora, Knapp and CLR will be decorating for the wine trail holiday events. The trees will be up by Wednesday, the wreaths by Thursday, and wassail bowl out on Friday (we need a recipe). We will start mumming on Saturday evening - all are welcome!!!

Thought for the Week:  Education
"The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values."

Time Posted: Nov 17, 2019 at 10:09 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 17, No. 11-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
November 10, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 10, No. 11-19

The sky is cloudy this morning over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. From the temperature readings it would seem winter has arrived but we still have another month of Fall according to the calendar. The current temperature Is 35 degrees however it "feels like" 27 degrees due to the wind which is coming from the south southwest at 10 miles per hour. Lake temperature: Keuka - 53 degrees.

In the vineyard: The 2019 harvest at Glenora, Knapp, and CLR is finished with the CLR team "wrapping it up" on Monday when the Mason Road Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Petite Verdot at CLR were harvested. We certainly appreciate the efforts of the vineyard teams in bringing in all of the grapes. The season starts out with short sleeved shirts and ends up with sweatshirts, heavy jackets, and Carharts! There is always a lot of moving parts to the harvest season, and depending on the vineyard, the winery and the weather the picking schedule needs to be flexible. For people who need a structured work day/week the harvest season would be very stressful. Thanks go out to Chaz, Jeffery, Bob, Brent, and Corey - the harvest team!

With harvest ending this past Monday, the Vineyard teams quickly "changed gears" as they power washed and greased the harvester, making notes of all of the items that will need attention before harvest next year. They rounded up all of the bins that seem to grow legs during harvest, power washing them as well and making repairs as needed. There is one winery where we deliver grapes that seem to play "bin bumper cars" when they unload and empty the bins - they also fail to risnse the bins which is and has been a winery courtesy since the beginning. The teams also started "hilling up" in several of the vineyards. Hilling up consists of pushing soil up and over the graft at the base of the vine to protect it over the winter.

Frozen Vidal grapes in bins, waiting to be pressed into Iced Wine.

On the press decks: While the harvest (picking) finished on Monday the press deck teams stemmed, crushed and then placed the Cabernet in red fermenters on Monday. They also started to press our "iced Wine" grapes on Monday, however that was cut short by a "stripped gear" on the Wilmes Press's motor. So a quick trip was made to Knapp where we have an identical press. Thanks to the efforts of Tracey, Chaz and Brent, the motor on that press was removed - quite a project has it had been in place for over 40 years with several coats of paint on the nuts and bolts that held it in place. However with some prayers (or were they cuss words?) the motor came off and the "Iced Wine Grapes" were pressed and the juice is now in the tank. A side note - pressing "Iced wine Grapes (frozen) gives us a yield of 45-60 gallons per ton as compared to 170-175 gallons per ton from the same fruit that was not frozen.

Yesterday marked the 43rd anniversary of a Nouveau Wine Celebration at Glenora. The event was first started at the end of harvest in 1977 to celebrate our first year of harvest/winemaking. It was a rather small event at which we invited all who had helped us establish Glenora during the year of 1977. We had started the year with a site on which an old barn had stood, and by years end we had 4500 cases of wine in the tanks-10 months. The event was original called Foch Nouveau as Foch grapes were the grapes used. It has now become "Nouveau" because we no longer make a Foch wine although the vineyard is still alive and well. One tradition did end this year and that was Henry the Hogg was not roasted on a spit or smoked - he was cooked in an oven. That decision was made when the weather forecast came out earlier in the week. Starting the smoker at 6 AM and standing by it when the temperature is 25 degrees for 6 hours is no longer considered fun - even when fortified with a glass of two of brandy. Thanks go out to Joel and the Maintenance team for keeping us warm, the kitchen and restaurant team for the great food, and to the administrative team for all of the organization.

Our event tent, set up for our Nouveau celebration, with a light snow covering the grounds.

Bob, who assists us with marketing and sales, returned from the American Wine Society meeting in Florida carrying a plethora of medals won by our wines, including one for the best white Vinefera wine in the commercial wine competition (wineries from across the US) - our 2019 Select Harvest Riesling! While all of our wines are the efforts of our entire cellar/production team, Winemaker Rachel took the lead on this one -Congratulations Rachel!!

While 2020 is 7.5 weeks away, plans are being made or finalized for some of the early years events which include Pasta Night, Fish Fry Fridays, Steak and Potato, the Bridal show and the early year Wine Trail events. There are several "twists" in store for these events. We also will have a new program - a monthly signature wine. More to come as we do not want other readers of the Gazette to plagiarize it.

Thought for the week:  Thought-Ideas
"True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision."

Time Posted: Nov 10, 2019 at 9:57 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 10, No. 11-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
November 3, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 11-19

The sky is partly cloudy on this the first Sunday of the 11th month of 2019. The temperature is 36 degrees with a feel like reading of 30 degrees - a result of the wind which is coming from the west south west at 3 miles per hour.

Lake temperatures: The Seneca Lake recording buoy located at Clark's Point (Roy's Marina, or east of Vonnie's and Port's restaurant) has been removed for the season, hence no more Seneca Lake temperatures until 2020. Keuka, where the water temperature readings are taken at the municipal water plant in Penn Yan is recording 57 degrees. It has been interesting to follow the graphs that show the water temperature on Keuka. Ever since the middle of June the water temperature has been lower than it was at any given time in 2019 - a reflection of the weather pattern this year. It was cooler which also is an indicator for the lower Brix and higher acid levels in the grapes this year. Last year it was November 14th before Keuka reached 57 degrees.

In the vineyards: Another monsoon week, or at least the later part of it when we received 1.48 inches of rain on Thursday evening at all of the vineyard locations. That was followed by "hurricane type wind" (at least it seemed that way) on Thursday evening and most of Friday. The Knapp Team wrapped up their 2019 harvest by picking their Catawba on Wednesday afternoon. CLR harvested Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and had plans to harvest the Mason Road Cabernet on Friday as well as Petit Verdot at CLR, but the rain and wind stopped that. The Mason Road Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is on a bit of a slope, good for air drainage, but not good for harvesters, tractors and bin trailers after an inch and a half of rain. Those grapes will be harvested on Monday and that will finish the harvest season - November 4, 2019

A golden glow on the vineyard immediately to the north of Glenora Wine Cellars

The vineyard teams will be winterizing equipment this coming week as the forecast is for temperatures declining to the lower 20's on Thursday and Friday, with 2.7 inches of snow on Thursday. Sad news for any grapes still not harvested (and there seem to be quite a few) unless they are planned to be used for ice wine.

In the cellar and on the press deck: This past week, the press deck team emptied the red fermenters that contained Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger. The grapes had been in the fermenters close to a week (color extraction) before being pressed. This coming week, the Cabernet Sauvignon from Mason Road will be put into the tanks. Given the predicted cold temperature we are very glad our red fermenters are jacketed and can be warmed.

Associate winemaker Rachel preparing an oak barrel for our nouveau wine.

On Thursday, Kerry, Mitchell, Rachel, and the editor met to review plans for Deck the Halls number one. This will be the first Deck the Halls event for Mitchell and Rachel. The wine trail has sold tickets that will bring 3100 people to the trail. Historically we see 87% of them which would be approximately 2700 guests. We will be serving a holiday gourmet soup to each visitor - a half of a cup or 4 ounces. When multiplied by 2700 potential visitors that equals 10,800 ounces of soup or 84.375 gallons of soup. We will make 90 gallons as woe would be us at the next wine trail meeting if we were short of soup by few ounces - a public wine trail flogging! We also discussed staffing - 22 team members will be needed on Saturday which is the busiest day.

It was yet another double header wedding weekend at Glenora with weddings and receptions taking place on both Friday and Saturday. Today, Sunday, we have a group of 55 people who will be joining us for lunch and then a tasting. As part of the tasting, the editor will be giving them a brief history grape growing and wine production in the Finger Lakes viticultural area and at Glenora.

a wooden basket press loaded with lemberger; pressing wine for our nouveau celebration.

Finally the power of social media, websites, etc.. Several of the folks (many were millennials) who attended last Saturday's "Flannel and Foliage Dinner" at Knapp's Vineyard Restaurant had found the information by viewing the Cayuga Wine Trail website and then the Knapp Wine site. Almost all of the attendees were from outside the area-Philadelphia, Boston, etc. and had been looking for something to do while visiting Finger Lakes Wine Country - we have several new friends!

According the weather gurus the dress code for next weekend's Nouveau event at Glenora may include Carharts! But not to fear, as Maintenance Engineer Joel and his team have plans to bring in portable heaters-the ones that meet all of the building code (in this case tent) specifications.

Thought for the Week:  Laughter
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."

Time Posted: Nov 3, 2019 at 9:42 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 3, No. 11-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
October 27, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 10-19

It is a damp morning on this the last Sunday in October in the vineyards of Glenora and along the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 54 degrees but feels like 48 degrees due the wind which is coming from the south southeast at 17 miles per hour. The wind and the wet weather are starting to end the colors of Fall. Lake temperatures: Seneca - 56.6 degrees; Keuka - 58 degrees. Last fall must have been warmer or quieter (less rain and wind) as it was November 9th in 2018 before Keuka reached 58 degrees.

In the vineyards: It was another damp/wet week, but no monsoons! Tuesday was the "wet day" with Knapp receiving .54 inches, while CLR and Glenora received .36 inches - we did not harvest on Tuesday! The Knapp team harvested Cabernet Franc, Lemember, and Vidal (about 5 tons of the Vidal where hand-picked for "iced wine"). The CLR team finished their Riesling along with Merlot and Syrah, and the Glenora press deck team saw Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Lemberger arrive.

If all goes well, and it should, we will finish harvest with the Catawba being harvested at Knapp and Varick, and the Petite Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon being harvested at CLR. As well, we plan to remove the Vidal that are in the freezer at Lakewood and press them for "Iced Wine". So it does appear that the 2019 harvest will run into November.

On Wednesday we (Tracey D. Kerry, Peter, input from Tracey M. and the editor) conferenced with our distributor, Empire North, to review year to date numbers, tweak plans for November and December, and to discuss, briefly, plans for the first quarter of 2020. We learned that, to date, the tariffs that have been imposed on imports to the United States have not had much of an impact on wine - more impact on spirits. It was also interesting to see the impact that "The Milennials" are having on/in the marketplace, especially pertaining items such as packaging (bottle size, labels), brand loyalty, and canned products. Along the canned line: Regional Sales Manager Anne sent a message noting the coffee is now being canned, and with a kick - read about here. Perhaps, as Anne suggests, we should introduce a wine based coffee!

It has been another double header wedding/reception weekend at Glenora. Our hats are off the restaurant, kitchen, and Inn teams. Back to back weddings during fall foliage season add even more intensity to the weekends (which they handle very well). And, they are doing this with a very lean staff. Thanks to everyone, you are appreciated!!

Last evening the Team at Knapp Winery Inn and Restaurant presented a themed dinner, Flannel and Foliage. Guests, most of whom had some flannel clothing, arrived to have cocktails (wine based of course) and wine on the Vineyard Restaurant's patio, then enjoyed at seasonal dinner, followed by the opportunity to go back outside to make smores. Enjoyable, unique and fun!! One has to wonder what is next?!!

The Great Debate: At Friday's Glenora managers meeting, there was discussion revolving around how Henry the XLIIIrd (that is 43rd for the non-Romans) would be prepared. Traditionally Henry "The Hogg" has been roasted, or in some cases burnt or destroyed (too much brandy??) over an open fire on a spit or on a smoker. The discussion-debate revolved around "should he be smoked, or roasted in an oven?" It seems that the group was leaning towards the oven - breaking a 42 year tradition. Time and weather will most likely dictate the venue for Henry. All of this will take place during our 43rd annual Nouveau wine celebration which will be held on Saturday November 9th - all are welcome

The editor was reminded last week that in addition to tickets still being available for the Cayuga Wine Trail's Holiday shopping Spree event and that there are still tickets available for the Keuka Lake Wine Trail's Keuka Holidays event. Lots of wine trail holiday opportunities!!

Finally tomorrow, Monday, is world Champagne Day - celebrate with a glass of Glenora's finest!

Thought for the Week:  Hope
            "He that lives upon hope will die fasting." Ben Franklin

Time Posted: Oct 27, 2019 at 9:31 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 10-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
October 20, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 20, No. 10-19

The sky is mostly cloudy over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca on this the second to last Sunday morning in October. The temperature is 45 degrees but feels like 41 degrees due to the wind which is coming from the south at 6 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Seneca-56.6 degrees; Keuka---59 degrees. It seems that the fall foliage is at or close to its peak - lots of color!

In the vineyards: It was another monsoon week, or at least part of it. We recorded a total of 1.65 inches of rain Wednesday afternoon and Thursday at Knapp, and during the same time .88 inches at Glenora and Chateau LaFayette Reneau. Needless to say, the best laid harvest plans had to be changed. It was a Riesling harvest week at all three vineyards. Riesling harvest has been completed at Glenora and Knapp. CLR will finish on Tuesday!

On the Press Decks: Again it was a Riesling week at all three of the wineries. The Glenora team did bring in some Gewurztraminer, Lemberger, Isabella, and Merlot as well. Production manager Tracey tells us that other than the grapes that will be used for "Iced Wine" (Vidal) the white grape harvest is finished at Glenora. Winemaker Tim says that the CLR team will finish their white grape harvest (Riesling) on Tuesday. So at this point we are looking at the reds - Lemberger, Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Winemakers Steve, Rachel and Tim will be gathering some vineyard samples early this coming week and most likely we will be harvesting many of those varieties before week's end -October 27th.

We, or at least the editor, continue to be amazed by the benefits of our lees floatation device which saves us from hours of tank settling and lees filtration. Example-in addition to the Lemberger, Merlot, Isabella, and Gewurztraminer that came to the Glenora press deck this past week there was also close to 80 tons for Riesling. If we did not have the floatation device we (mostly Shawn) would have been on the press deck all weekend lees filtering. The press deck is quiet and the Riesling is fermenting! Perhaps we should be looking at a cross-flow filtration system next!!

October seems to becoming somewhat like June - a month for weddings! This weekend on Friday and Saturday we hosted two weddings and receptions, and the wedding team was able to find some sunshine for both of them!!

Since this is the time of year when we and other growers and winemakers are being asked-"how is the grape crop"? There are several different ways to reply depending whether you are a grower or a winemaker or both. From the grower's perspective "more is better," as that is how they are generally compensated -paid by the tons delivered, so more tonnage equals more income. From the winemakers' perspective: they like lots of grapes with the caveat that the numbers (sugar, acid, pH) need to be perfect. So with that in mind, this year seems to be " all over the place" with some varieties having average yields and average "numbers", some with lower yields and average numbers, and some varieties with higher yields and average numbers. So for the grower it seems the year (good or not so good) is one of the varieties that they may be growing (yields) and for the winemakers the numbers appear to be average - of course they would always would like perfection. The variety that seems to have surprised growers and winemakers alike is Riesling, with most reporting a very large crop. However, kudos go out to our vineyard teams Jeffery, Bob, and Chaz who for the most part have hit the numbers (estimates and yields) on the head. Experience goes along ways in the crop estimating arena!

There is lots of angst taking place with respect the Seneca Lake Wine Trails "Deck the Halls" tickets. Especially for those who told their spouse/friends that "I have the tickets taken care of" but do not, as tickets for both weekends have been sold out for quite some time - procrastination!! They may be able to save themselves as the Cayuga Wine Trail still has a few of their Holiday Shopping Spree tickets available!

Congratulations go out to Team Glenora as they were recently awarded The Best Twin Tiers Winery by the readers of the Elmira Star Gazette!!  It is quite an honor given the number and quality of the wineries in the region.

Did you know that there is, or has been, yet another Finger Lakes Wine Center? According to an article in the Daily Messenger, it is located at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua. Soon there will be as many wine, food, and culinary centers as there are wineries.

Thought for the week: The Mind
"Ignorance and fear are but matters of the mind - and the mind is adaptable

Time Posted: Oct 20, 2019 at 9:04 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 20, No. 10-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
October 13, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 13, No. 10-19

The sky over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca is clear this morning, The temperature is 37 degrees but feels like 33 degrees as a result of the wind which is coming from thesouth west at 5 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Seneca - 60.9 degrees; Keuka - 63 degrees. It was interesting to note that one year ago on the same date Keuka's temperature was 72 degrees, a much warmer Fall than this year!?

In the vineyards: The week started out on a very wet note. It was Monsoon Monday with the vineyards at Knapp receiving 1.26 inches of rain, while the vineyards at Glenora and Chateau LaFayette Reneau received 1.21 inches. After the monsoon season ended this week, the weather quite nice - a mostly dry allowing harvest to continue at more or less full swing. The Press Deck Team at CLR brought in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc (Rose). The Glenora/Knapp Press Deck Team brought in Isabella and Riesling. The end of this coming week will be the week, the 20th, will be the time when some winemakers come to the realization that there may be only one week left to harvest-as generally speaking the end of October marks the end of harvest due to cold weather and frosts. There are still a lot of grapes to be harvested.

Rachel and Steve continue sampling and monitoring the vineyards. In general what we are observing is that while the acid in the grapes is dropping (good thing), the sugar levels are not increasing at the same rate - hence the reason for the delay in harvesting. What always needs to remembered is a harvester can only cover so many acres in a day and the press decks can only handle so many tons per day. In other words, for some it could be getting close to crunch time. Fortunately for us our vineyard teams, harvest teams, press deck teams and winemakers are on top of all of this for us-we are in good shape!

We were visited this past week by the Town of Starkey Code enforcement officer. He generally visits us once a year to make sure we are incompliance with building and safety codes. Joel, our Maintenance Engineer, escorted him through all areas of all the buildings on the property. We passed with flying colors with only a couple of small details to be corrected (purposely left so that the Code Officer has something to write about).

Thanks go out to the restaurant and kitchen teas as they have their Thanksgiving Dinner menu created and it now on-line. They are also working their New Year's Eve menus and party plans.

It is another double header wedding/reception weekend for the teams at the Inn, Veraisons, and the kitchen. A wedding yesterday, a wedding breakfast this morning and another wedding this afternoon

Regional Sales Manager Anne reported that the Buffalo Trade show went very well for us. She noted that there very few restaurants in attendance due to the fact that it was Restaurant Week in Buffalo and that there were 250 restaurant participating in that event, Let's look at this closer: 250 restaurants in Buffalo, if each purchase one case each month of our wine that would be 250 cases which then multiplied by 12 months would total 3000 cases andthat is just in restaurants-it does not count the wine shops.

Yesterday Peter. the offsite sales manager at CLR, and his wife Janine represented our wineries at the Greek Peak Resort. While the event was titled Hops and Swaps there were wineries, distilleries, local food/produce vendors and even some cigar folks there. We have presume the 'swap part had to do with ski equipment!

The logic (or lack thereof) of group thinks: 18 months ago the members of the Seneca Lake Wine trail met to consider ways to increase visitors to the trail. One of the ways to measure the success was to establish a goal of a 5% increase in winery visitation each year - based on visitor reports from 15 reporting wineries, there were roughly 500,000 visits to those wineries in 2018. Since there are 32 member wineries, it is logical to presume there were around 1,000,000 winery visits in 2018. Increasing the number by 5 % a year over the next five years would indicate that we can expect the attendance at end of 2023 to be in the area of 1,276,281 visitors, or an increase of 27.6% Mission impossible -NO!! Mission Challenging -Yes-More to come.

We have a new wine menu at Veraisons. We try to change our wine list at least twice a year. The list obviously contains Glenora, Knapp, Chateau wines. It also includes other Finger Lakes wines, wines from other parts of the US and also some from offshore. We do this as our visitors come from all parts of the US and the world so we feel a variety of wine offerings is necessary.

Thought for the week: Worry
"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2019 at 8:53 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 13, No. 10-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
October 6, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 6, No. 10-19

The sky over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca is cloudy on this the first Sunday morning of October 2019. The temperature is 54 degrees with a feel like reading of 49 degrees, a result of the wind which is coming from the south at 15 miles per hour-it appears that we are in for a windy day!

More weather news: Saturday morning brought about some very cold temperatures and some frost in the higher elevations. Although the editor did scrape some frozen dew off his windshield Saturday morning, the coldest we recorded in any of our vineyard locations was 37 degrees. This coming week looks much better for harvesting -drier.

In the vineyards: Well if one was/is a purist (we do not harvest in the rain or when the grapes are wet) there would not have been much harvesting taking place this past week. Then there is idealism and realism, and realism dictates that unless there are major periods of rain, harvesting has to take place. There is a big difference between operations that have a few acres of vines and make a few hundred cases of wine, and ours which when combined consist of 140 acres of vines, and wine production exceeding 80,000 cases. In any event we, or those who grow grapes for us, using some common sense, keep the harvesters rolling. At Knapp the team harvested DeChaunac, Saperavi, Arandel, and Chardonnay. The Glenora Press deck team saw the arrival of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat. It appears that we will be starting our Riesling harvest this coming week. Steve and Rachel continue to give us "the numbers" which aid us in determining which vineyards to harvest first.

The lees floatation device: This is a tool that is saving us an extreme amount of time, energy and money. Literally, it allows us to harvest the grapes, press the grapes, and start fermentation of the juice all within hours in most cases. It works by injecting a small amount of a vegetable based material (vegetable based allows us to continue the vegan winemaking process) in to the bottom of the tank by using a small amount of nitrogen. As the bubbles rise to the top of the tank they cause the vegetable based material (sticky) to pick up the lees (small pieces of solids such skin) which then floats to the top of the tank leaving the clear juice below it . We then pump out the clear juice and dispose of the lees. We can float a 3000 gallon tank in a matter of hours (usually less than 3 to 4 hours) as compared to a day of two when using a lees filter. Another benefit: a much better utilization of our tanks during harvest. And yet another benefit: the production team does not have to spend their weekend's lees filtering in order to empty tanks for use during the upcoming week.

It has been and continues to be a busy week for the Inn, restaurant and kitchen teams. They hosted two bicycle groups -overnights, dinner and breakfast: along with hosting a naval group reunion. Yesterday they hosted a wedding and reception, they will be doing the same today, and tomorrow morning there will be a wedding breakfast taking place. Lots activity for the all of the teams there.

Last Sunday morning while the editor was at the Inn/restaurant, the mother of the bride approached and spent the next, at least, ten minutes telling how much she appreciated what the wedding team, the restaurant team and inn team had done to make her daughter's wedding day very special - she was enthusiastic to say the least!!. Thanks to everyone for your part in making our customers' events enjoyable.

Last Thursday evening we hosted Mass in the Vineyards, which is a service conducted by Father Steve of St. Mary's of the Lake church of Watkins Glen. The service is intended for folks of all denominations who work in the vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms that find it challenging to attend church services on Sunday. Father Steve told us that the attendance at the sevice, in spite of the weather (lots of rain), was the largest of the year. That has to be true, as a priest is not likely to be telling fairy tales. Thanks go out to Larry who helped us will the social hour afterwards.

This coming Tuesday, October 9th, is the SHT-deadline day! By day's end, every employed person in NYS must have received SHT (sexual harassment training). We are not sure what happens to those who are not trained or their employers (perhaps they are deported) but we do not need to worry as our teams are now we versed on the subject, and have sighed off stating the same.

Thought for week: Opinions
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd."

Time Posted: Oct 6, 2019 at 8:41 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 6, No. 10-19 Permalink
Gene Pierce
September 29, 2019 | Gene Pierce

The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 29, No. 9-19

The sky is overcast over the vineyards of Glenora and along the shores of Seneca on this the last Sunday morning of September 2019. The temperature is 56 degrees but feels a bit cooler as the wind is coming from the north at 7 miles per hour. While the forecast for the beginning of the upcoming week looks great -warm and dry- it appears that will change by week's end-cold and wet!

In the vineyards: Another great weather week for ripening and harvesting. There were a few showers, heavier in some locations, but not enough to stop the harvest. Not at all like last year when as the ole farmer would say-"we are mudding it" to get through the vineyards. For the Knapp harvest team, it was Vignoles at Knapp and Varick. At CLR, the Club Seneca Pinot Blanc were harvested, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Although the CLR team has more Pinot Noir to harvest, it appears that it is going to be the largest Pinot Noir crop to date there. The Knapp Team also did some custom harvesting-Valvin Muscat, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.

On the press Decks: At Glenora the team saw Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Vignoles arriving at the press deck. The CLR team brought in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Press deck creativity or the Ol' Farmers creativity in action: Late in the week the vacuum pump on the larger press at Glenora decided to retire (quit). The pump is critical as it pulls the air away from the bladder that is used to press the grapes. This is done by the pump creating a vacuum (suction) on what was the pressure side of the bladder. Without being able to relieve the pressure, the press is useless (could the press be human?). Since vacuum pumps that fist the press are not something one finds at the general store it needed to be special ordered -days, possible weeks. This is where the genius of ol' farmer who has fixed many things with baling wire comes in. We needed to create a vacuum-how does our shop vacuum cleaner work - by creating a vacuum to pull in the dirt!! So with a little baling wire (or in this case duct tape) the shop vacuum was hooked to the press and we were back in operation!!

While the weather over the past 2-3 weeks has been great for ripening the grapes we, or the grapes, still have a ways to go as the brix levels are lower than we would like and the acid and pH are not at the levels we would like to see. Looking at the longer range forecast it appears Mother Nature is about to enter her fall temperature mode as later this coming week the temperature highs are forecast to be in the 60's and the night temperatures in the mid to lower 40;s. Those temperatures will slow down ripening. If there is any positive to the lower temperatures they will slow down the fruit flies who like to attack grapes when their sugar content gets above 15 degrees Brix.

There are other things happening besides harvest. This weekend and into next week both CLR and Glenora are taking part in the New York Wine and Grape Foundation's "NY Drinks NY program. This is a program where wine industry people - retailers, restaurants and influencers, mostly from the New York City area - visit the Finger Lakes Wine Region to learn more about the industry. They will be visiting the wineries to get hands-on experiences - we are told they want to get their "hands dirty". We certainly look forward to satisfying those wishes for them. The experience of getting a blister on your hand and the getting grape juice in or on it will be something they will always remember. We aim to please!! Steve, Rachel, Peter and Tim will be representing us at several of the events. Shawn and Wally are in charge of the "dirty hands" adventures.

If you visit the Glenora retail shop you will, or should, notice that we have a new flat screen TV there. The TV is "hooked" to a camera that can be moved about to show various activities taking place at winery. Currently the camera is focused on the press deck which allows visitors to observe activities there. Later in the year we may place the camera in the bottling room so that visitors can see/watch the bottling operations. It has been decided that we will not include audio at this time!

It has been and is another wedding event weekend at Glenora. A rehearsal dinner on Friday evening - not sure why it is named that as it should be named the "dinner after the rehearsal; they are not rehearsing the dinner. In any event, a wedding and reception yesterday and a wedding celebration breakfast this morning!

Thought for the week:  Mistakes
"A life where mistakes are made is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

Time Posted: Sep 29, 2019 at 8:28 AM Permalink to The Glenora Gazette, Vol. 29, No. 9-19 Permalink
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