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
On August 27, Glenora hosted a once-in-a-blue moon tasting as tastemakers and wine industry figures from around the region joined us to taste sparkling wines from 1986-1998 from both Glenora Wine Cellars and Dr. Konstatin Frank. What started as a simple conversation between associates ended up a much more complex conversation about the climate, conditions, and potential of the Finger Lakes.
With the assistance of Paul Brady from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, tasters assembled in the Wine Cellar dining room at the Inn at Glenora. Taking part in the tasting were: Christopher Bates (master sommelier and owner, Element Winery & FLX Hospitality), Jason Wilson (Writer, Vinous), Meaghan Frank and Eric Bauman from Dr. Frank, Gaia Bonadeo (wine importer), Morten Hallgren (former winemaker, Dr. Frank, co-owner and winemaker, Ravines Wine Cellars), Brian Butterfield (bar director and sommelier, Kindred Fare), Rachel Hadley and Steve DiFrancesco from Glenora, and Bob Madill (brand manager, Glenora Wine Cellars).
Each round of tasting presented similarly-matched pairs of sparkling wine, one each from Glenora and Dr. Frank. The group tasted Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, and Brut from seven different vintages. Conversation flowed – how did weather patterns affect a particular vintage, how had oxidation and autolysis changed the wines, and did the change in winemaker from tirage to dosage have an effect on the result?
Overall, tasters were wowed by the positive effects of aging and the overall effervescence of these bubbles. Brady noted “the freshness and complexities; ripe fruit and herbal flavors; textures and unique aging attributes that the majority of these wines had developed.” Winemaker Steve mentioned that the ‘95 Brut from both Dr. Frank and Glenora were real stand-outs for him – the Dr. Frank for is light yeastiness and low dosage, the Glenora for its strawberry notes and great balance. What grabbed Bates? While he found each separate vintage interesting in their own right (and “far better than (he) anticipated”), he was blown away by the ‘91 and ‘92. His praise was effusive – “fresh, bright, textured, with the obvious signs of age and autolysis to add interest and texture and depth, but with a purity and focus that made them snap.” And while commendation can go a long way, Christopher took it one step further – he took the leftovers to a trade dinner in Toronto, sharing the ’89, ’91, and ’92 with Canadian master sommeliers.
While many think of the Finger Lakes as a Riesling powerhouse, the region has long produced beautiful reds, crisp whites, and stunning sparkling wines. This tasting reinforced the belief, for Bates, that good wine isn’t good enough here. “We have the potential to produce GREAT wines here in the Finger Lakes, and these 30 year old bubbles (prove) exactly that.”
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
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."
Our annual Leaves & Lobster weekend proved to be another total success – hundreds of hungry visitors enjoyed stunning views, great live music, and totally drool-worthy New England-style lobster bakes. Check out our breakdown below, along with some great photos taken by staff and fans alike!
On Saturday, guests grooved to the sounds of Bob's Brother's Band, who played hits from across the decades.
On Sunday, guests were treated to not one, but TWO separate performances- headlined by perennial L&L favorite the Diana Jacobs Band.
Though both days saw the chance of inclement weather, both Saturday and Sunday ended up the perfect day to enjoy fresh lobster and perfect views. All in all - the numbers don't lie. Check out the stats from this year's celebration!
And with that, we put another year of Leaves & Lobster behind - we're already thinking ahead to next year's event, the warm sunshine of late summer, and the taste of fresh and delicious lobster from Maine Harvest. See you next September!
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."