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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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."