The sky is, for the most part, clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. Temperature-wise it is a sweater weather morning - 56 degrees with the wind coming from the south southeast at 2 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Keuka-77 degrees; Seneca-74.6 degrees. This may be the last time we see these temperatures until 2020!
In the vineyards: The conversation there seems to be mostly about harvest. When will it start? Is the equipment ready? And the remembrances of the last season's sour rot epidemic in some vineyards. Most of the conversation revolves around the dreaded Drosophila melanogaster! This pest is more common than the (also dreaded) spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. Both of these monsters are fruit flies or relatives of the same, and as the grapes ripen they will (simply put) attach to the grapes causing them to start to sour rot - which can impact the fruit almost overnight. Obviously, the vineyard teams will be on the watch for these pests-along with the birds - because if the birds eat the grapes first, there will be no grapes to rot!
In spite of the weather, last Sunday's Jazz Greats at Glenora was another success for Team Glenora. Although we had to delay the start of the concert for about 20 minutes (lightning off in the distance) the almost 1200 people in attendance saw and heard a great performance by Euge Grove. Even with some light rain during the concert, only a few people melted.
On Monday, we held our annual team member summer picnic with close to 100 team members and their families attending. It was an "old fashioned" summer picnic - Production Manager Tracey was grilling hamburgers, gourmet hotdogs and sides from Burns' Dog Pound (some even had a lobster relish), and there were plenty of smoked grilled ribs. Maintenance Engineer Joel provided many dishes of his famous sparkling popcorn as well. And as always, Joel provided entertainment for the younger folks -balls, bats and kites. It really is great to see and meet the family members of the Glenora Team - out of uniform and fully relaxed!
We were very pleased to see that Chateau LaFayette Reneau was one of three wineries included in an article in Luxury Travel Magazine's August 23rd edition that featured a section on Best Fall getaways. The article noted what we already know - the views from the winery and inn decks are fantastic, along with some great wines!
Last evening, Chef John and his team at Knapp's Vineyard restaurant presented their Seafood and Sunset Dinner -a summer picnic in the vineyards. It was an outside event, and attendees were able to enjoy the sun setting through the vines (and clouds) while enjoying lots of different seafood dishes and glasses of wine. Somehow, the sun managed to set about an hour earlier than planned/advertised. Perhaps it was operating on daylight savings time rather than Eastern Standard Time. Hopefully John and his team will make this event a summer tradition!
For the second consecutive year, the readers of USA Today have named the Finger Lakes Wine Region as the BEST WINE REGION IN NORTH AMERICA! That is quite a feat for an area that less than 40 years ago had less than 15 wineries in the region. Our hats are off to the early leaders of the wine trails who had the foresight to work together to promote and grow the region, and of course to the same to the many tourism and wine promotion groups who have brought attention to the area in recent years.
More vineyard news: Steve and Rachel continue their vineyard sampling project. Again, at this point, it appears that we are still about a week behind last year in terms of grape maturation. This was also noted by information sent from the Finger Lake Grape program in which there was a comparison showing the dates of the start of veraison in several varieties from 2018 as compared to 2019. What this most likely indicates is that the 2019 harvest season is going to be compressed perhaps into aslittle as 6 weeks for most of the wine grape varieties as the season generally ends at the end of October (the end of the growing/ripening season).
And lest we forget, it was another wedding weekend at Glenora and the festivities will continue this morning with a post-wedding breakfast. A busy weekend for the Inn, Events, and Restaurant/kitchen teams!! THANK YOU!
Thought for the week: Books
"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking."
The sky cloudy/overcast over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 67 degrees with the wind coming from the south at 4 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Keuka-76 degrees; Seneca - 75.2 degrees. The forecast for today's concert at the Glenora Vineyard stage is that we will have a cloudy sky, temperatures in the mid to high 80s and a 30-50% chance of getting wet.
In the vineyards: The vineyard teams continue preparing for harvest which at this point is most likely about a month away - of course, Mother Nature could change that. Other projects include monitoring the early ripening vineyards as the birds are doing the same, mowing and some summer pruning. The harvester at Knapp is on the waiting list for a tune-up (sort of like going to the Doctor's office) - we have the folks who are harvester specialists come in to check it over and make any repairs necessary. Another observation: for the month to date we have received .94 inches of rain at our Glenora and Chateau LaFayette Reneau vineyards, while at the Knapp Vineyards we have received 3.47 inches. As the crow flies, the Knapp and CLR vineyards are about 25 miles apart.
It appears that we will get the new hood system in the kitchen operational this coming week. There were some electrical details that needed to be resolved and Tuesday is the day. Whenthe hood system will be operational, the kitchen will be a much cooler (temperature wise) to work.
Speaking of kitchens: this coming week is Chef's appreciation Week! So please take a moment to let Chef Orlando and Chef John and their teams know how much they are appreciated.
The winemaking/production teams are very busy bottling and disgorging. They have a lot of custom work projects going on as everyone is emptying their tanks for the upcoming harvest, and from what is being reported regarding crop size everyone is going to need lots of available tank space.
It was a double header wedding weekend at Glenora with weddings and receptions taking place on Friday and Saturday. What we're hearing from potential brides is that July is just too hot! We certainly can appreciate weather concerns when planning a winter wedding, perhaps we offer early morning weddings in July and August as the mornings during those months are generally cool, and an added bonus would the sun rising over the vineyards.
Last evening Chef John and his team at the Vineyard Restaurant at Knapp Winery and Restaurant presented their monthly Wine Dinner that featured garlic in every course. Since garlic is reported to "cure what ails you", there should be many very healthy people running about this morning. It will be a double header wine dinner month at Knapp as next Saturday evening Chef John and his team will be offering/presenting a Seafood and Sunset Wine Dinner-sort of a picnic style dinner that will include shrimp, mussels, crab cakes, steamed clams and salmon. Click HERE for reservations.
This past Thursday, August 15th, we posted our grape prices with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. We also sent the same information to those growers from whom we purchase grapes. In the letter sent to growers, we also include the tons that we expect to purchase from them and also our payment schedule. Although it has not occurred recently, it is not unusual for an inspector from Ag. & Mkts to visit us to conduct an audit to make sure we paid the prices posted for each variety of grapes, and that the payment took place as posted. They even look at the cancelled checks to make sure that the funds were actually paid - George Orwell heads up that department.
Our annual Leaves and Lobster event weekend will be occurring on September 14 and 15. Last year this was a sold out event, so if you are planning to attend, make your reservations soon. You can grab tickets HERE.
Thought for the week: Ego
He was like the rooster who thought that the sun had risen to hear him crow
The sky is clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca-a fair amount of sun as well. The temperature is 57 degrees with the wind coming from the south west at 5 miles per hour. A temperature feeling reading of 56 degrees-some hints of Fall??!! Lake temperatures: Keuka-77 degrees; Seneca-75.8 degrees.
In the vineyards: Weather-wise it was another "depending on where the vineyard is located" weather weeks. For example, on Tuesday late morning there was a downpour at our CLR vineyards. At the same time, just across the lake at Glenora (perhaps 2 ½ miles west of CLR) the sun was shining! The vineyard teams are touching up their vineyard hedging projects (summer pruning - or vineyard haircuts), applying protective sprays where necessary, and preparing and setting up the bird control devices. While there is not much, if any bird activity in the vineyards at this point as soon as the grape berries start to turn color the birds will be visiting the vineyards - pecking at and eating the grapes. The team at Knapp is moving bird netting from the Vidal vineyard to the Siegerrebe vineyard. The birds seem to really enjoy Siegerrebe as they are one of the first varieties to change color.
This past week the winemaking team, Steve and Rachel, met with production manager Tracey M and the editor. As we now have determined the grapes that we will be harvesting this year, we looked at our vineyard sampling process. The Winery team members go into the various vineyards about every 7-10 days to "sample the grapes". This allows them to measure changes in the sugars, acid, and pH of the grapes. Knowing that, we can determine when to harvest. Since we have a great deal of history on all of our vineyards we can use that to fairly accurately determine harvest dates based on the changes taking place with the vineyard samples. Another example: If we notice that a specific grape variety's brix level is increasing (ripening) at the rate of 2 Brix per week and we want harvest that variety at 22 Brix and the current Brix level is 18 it most likely will be another 2 weeks until we harvest that variety. It is not an exact science but certainly better than the old days. 50 years ago, if the grapes tasted good they were harvested. Although that is still not a bad way to check - after all we will be tasting the final product.
Our congratulations have been sent to our friends at Six Mile Creek-Winner of the Governor's Cup; and to Wagner Vineyards for being named Winery of the Year. Great honors for both wineries and once again wineries from the Finger Lakes wining the highest honors at the New Wine and Grape Foundations annual wine competition.
An speaking of honors you can vote in/on the USA Today's best wine region in the United States competition! Click HERE to cast your vote for the Finger Lakes.
Next Sunday, August 18, Euge Grove will be on the Glenora Vineyard stage, our last concert of the 2019 Jazz Greats at Glenora season. It seems like the season just started and now it is almost over. On Monday evening after the concert, we will be having our annual summer team member and family picnic. We expect over 100 attendees. Once again Chief Entertainer Joel will be providing activities for the "kids" as well as providing his "Glenora Famous" popcorn. Something new this year -"BYOB": it is not what you are probably thinking, but is "Build Your Own Burger". Production Manager Tracey will don his Grill Masters Apron and grill the burgers - you "build the burger" by adding all of your favorite toppings. Perhaps we should have a "Best Built Burger Contest" -- we will need a prize-ideas.
On Friday afternoon, we received the Farm Credit Benchmark survey report for the first six months of 2019. The Benchmark part is that it compares the first six months of 2019 to the first six months of 2018. These numbers confirm the general feeling, and for us our numbers, that visitation is down - 2.1 percent for the trail. However for us some good numbers: bottles sold per person up 16.5%, total retail sales per taster up 19.7%, retail sales dollars up 5.8%. Certainly we would like to see more visitors - we and the Seneca Lake Wine trail are working on that. We also need more winery participation as only 12 of the 31 Seneca Lake Wine Trail members reported information to the survey. One should not complain about wine sales or visitation if you are not willing to be part of looking for solutions. Something like if you are not part of those seeking a solution to an issue, you may be part of the problem. As you can probably tell, the editor will not be in the running for Wine Trail president!
Thought for the week: Time-Live
"Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you."
We have a somewhat cloudy sky over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is 65 degrees with the wind coming from the northwest at 4 miles per hour. The forecast for later today looks ideal for the NASCAR race this afternoon at Watkins Glen International. Lake temperatures: Seneca-78.4 degrees; Keuka-78 degrees (more on lake temperatures in a bit).
In the vineyards: It was another one of those "it depends on the vineyard location weather weeks". For example: on Tuesday evening between 6-7:30 our Glenora vineyards received 1.71 inches of rain - 1.97 total inches for the day. That amount of rain in such a short period of time is what the ole farmer would call "a gully washer," except this has happened so much recently that there is nothing left in the gullies to wash out. Meanwhile during the same time frame, our Knapp Vineyards received .77 inches of train and 10 miles north of Knapp and 25 miles north of Glenora the research station at Geneva did not get any rain. The vineyard team at Knapp is reporting that the Siegerrebe grapes are starting to soften (showing signs for early ripening) and that we can expect to see some veraison (the grape berries getting some color) taking place next week. Once that starts to take place, the bird wars will be on. The birds start to eat the grapes once they change color (ripen) as even birds do not like sour grapes.
More on temperatures - Before all of the Keuka residents move to Seneca seeking warmer water, some explanation: the Seneca lake temperature is recorded by Hobart and William Smith colleges. The temperature is taken at a buoy located off Clark's Point with the water temperature being taken hourly at a depth of 3 feet (actually 1 meter). The Keuka Lake temperature is recorded daily by the Village of Penn Yan Municipal Water Department. That temperature is taken at the inlet to the water plant which is at a depth of 20 feet. At which level do most people swim, tube, or waterski?
More information: http://fli-data.hws.edu/clarkpt/ https://www.keukalakeassociation.org/charts/keuka_lake_temperature.php
If you are a history buff, there will be Military re-enactors representing American soldiers from the Revolutionary War to World War II at the Seneca White Deer Park at the former Seneca Army Deport on Saturday, August 17 .The reenactment will present a living time of that period The editor observed something similar to this at Fort Niagara a number of years ago-realistic, educational, and enjoyable.
Moscato, our newest wine release, seems to be a success. While it was scheduled to be released on August 1, we did a prerelease in the retail shop and during the first 10 days 229 bottles were sold. The wine will be in retail shops, statewide, starting on Tuesday!
On Friday morning, we held another meeting to review the wine production needs and consequent grape needs from and for 2019. This always is a bit of a moving target as we review our current wine inventories (which we know), look at projected sales for the balance of 2019 and 2020 and with some varieties 2021 (which is an estimate-but well-calculated), and the projected vineyards yield (which at this point is also an estimate). Knowing (or estimating) all of this we will finalize the wine production needed by variety, and in instances where we may have extra grapes begin to look for buyers. In the event that we may need grapes we will advise those who grow grapes for us what we will be needing. Next steps: Winemakers Steve, Rachel and Tim will be heading to the vineyards to start to gather samples to check on the status of ripening.
This past Thursday we hosted Mass in the Vineyards at Chateau LaFayette Reneau. It wast special for those attending as Sarah, our assistant retail shop manager, sang "Ave Maria." Sarah has a beautiful voice which she is very willing to share - Thank you Sarah for making the Mass a bit more special. When we are visited at CLR by World War Two veterans, we see many due to our location close the former Sampson Army/Navy base Sarah will often sing songs to them from that era-lots of moist eyes!!
A reminder that the Knapp Vineyard Restaurant Team will be hosting a unique dinner on August 24 when they present their Seafood and Sunset picnic-held outside next to the vineyards. For more details and reservations (they are going fast) CLICK HERE. We have arranged for the sun to set at 7:56 PM, and twilight will end at 8:25 PM (in other words, it will be dark at that time.)
Thought for the week: Prattle
"Blessed is the person, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact."