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."
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."
The sky over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca is mostly clear as we celebrate Hobbit day and mark the first day to Tolkien Week. The temperature is a relatively mild for this time of year, 65 degrees, almost 80 degrees later today. The wind is coming from the south southwest at 6 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Keuka-69 degrees; Seneca-67.5 degrees.
In the vineyards: The weather has to be part of the story this week, as it has been almost "picture perfect" almost all week long with lots of sun and warmer temperatures. Both of these are great for ripening the grapes, as up to this point ripening has been a bit behind "normal". The Knapp vineyard team harvested Seyval and Baco this past week. Plans are to harvest Cayuga on Monday and then Vignoles on Thursday and Friday with some custom harvesting taking place in between.
On the press deck: The Glenora press deck team had Pinot Noir (for sparkling wine), Seyval and Cayuga arriving at their press deck. Another non-grape arrival was the new chiller and cooling tower that will soon be installed. Our old chiller and cooling tower were first installed in the mid-80's making them over 30 years old and like most things today, parts are no longer available. In addition, we have added several jacketed tanks (for controlling the temperature or the wine) over the years which the system was not really designed for. In the pre chiller and pre jacketed tank days -1977 to 1987- we attempted to cool the wine in the tanks by running water over them-cold water running from the top of the tank down the side. This was not the most efficient way to cool the wine and it put a strain on our water and waste disposal systems -aah, the good ole days!
The CLR press deck team (Tim and Wally) started their season this past week as well as they brought in Baco on Thursday and Friday!
This coming week will be busy for both the harvest team (the harvester) and the press deck team as we will have harvesting taking place every day, and the press deck will be busy those days as well -the season is here! Everyone is welcome to come and observe.
On Wednesday evening Chef John and his team conducted an off-site catering event as part of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours program. The event was special as it marked the opening of the newly updated marina at Sampson State Park. There were over 100 people in attendance - Knapp's wines were part of the festivities as well. There were lots of very positive comments regarding the food, the service and the wine. Perhaps we should consider a Catering/Food truck!!
On Thursday afternoon, the Chateau LaFayette Reneau Team hosted their new wine distributor Empire North. This is the first time that CLR has had a distributor since its inception in 1985. The benefits will be a much larger sales team in the field and a much broader range of distribution. Peter, who has been single handedly overseeing that responsibility (with a little help from the team at CLR) will work with the Empire folks during the transition.
Last weekend's Leaves and Lobster event was a very successful event for us. Accounting Manager Tracey D. reported that wine sales were the most that had ever been recorded! Another note about Leaves and Lobsters, and for that matter our Jazz Greats at Glenora concert series as well. These events are all organized, managed, and conducted by the teams at Glenora (well the Boy Scouts help with parking). The point here is that these event happen because the teams at Glenora that have full time responsibilities during the week put in the extra efforts on nights and weekends to make the events possible. This often times means 60-70 hour weeks which sometimes are 12-14 days in length. Glenora has a great team and they are very much appreciated. There is not a single department that does not contribute in some manner.
Windmill report, otherwise known as "The Mill": The team there keeps on rolling -to date their sales are up 34% over last year-and we get lots of positive reports from customers at "The Mill" as well as compliments from the management there. Thank you ladies!
Thought for the week: "Dragons"
"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." JRR Tolkien
The sky is clear over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca. The temperature is a crisp 55 degrees with the wind coming from the south-southwest at 4 miles per hour. The forecast today looks fine for day two of Leaves & Lobsters-sunny with temperatures reaching into the 70's. Lake temperatures: Seneca-67.7 degrees; Keuka-71 degrees-the temperature decline continues.
In the vineyards: Harvest officially started at Varick and Knapp this past Wednesday morning. The crew now consists of 2 members who have worked on it before, one who has had lots of harvest experience but not on the Knapp team, and 2 who are new to the team. While we do not regularly operate with a five-person team we did start that way on Wednesday so that everyone could get experience. Chaz, the vineyard manager at Knapp, has taken over the role of harvester operator. The first day went well although we did have one hydraulic hose that decided it was time to quit. This gave the team the opportunity to demonstrate their mechanical skills, which they did, and the machine was soon up and running. By early afternoon the seedless grapes at Varick and the Siegerrebe at Knapp were "in the bin". At this point our schedule for next week has us harvesting Baco and Seyval.
On Thursday, the press deck team at Glenora sprang into action pressing the Seedless and Siegerrebe. A smooth start for the team with all of the equipment operating as it should. There was one new additional-a new forklift! The "old forklift" was more than beginning to show its age (35 years). While the old lift is still operating we have been told for quite some time that parts are no longer available unless we wanted to dig through the forklift graveyard. So, the decision was made to "add some "new paint" (an ole farmers term for new equipment).
The cellar team was visited by the New York State Agriculture and Markets inspector this past week. Although we know the visit is coming we never know when. Production Manager Tracey was very pleased to report that that the winemaking and cellar teams both received an A+ rating. Since we are considered a food manufacturing plant the inspection is quite detailed and at times is somewhat subjective depending on the inspector - one time we received a demerit with the comment "there was a large furry animal on the crush pad that appeared to be a dog" - it was a dog. Another great one was the inspector who wanted the area over the press deck to be covered because of birds (I am sure you get the idea)-however, remember the grapes that were inside the equipment on the crush pad had been out in an uncovered vineyard a few hours before-anyway.
More cellar news: On Friday the production team put what will be our 2018 Blanc de Blanc into tirage. This is a somewhat complicated project - too long to explain here. However, if you visit Steve and Rachel they will be glad to give you many more details-if you go be sure to pack a lunch. The wine will be available for purchase in 2023-2024.
Chef Orlando and the Kitchen and Restaurant teams will be rolling out their Fall menus on September 25th -48 hours after the start of Fall. Midweek is always the best time to roll out new menus!!
Leaves and Lobsters: While we still have a few unclaimed Lobsters (meaning we can still accept walk-ins) the 2019 event is or will be another successful event. Even Mother Nature, for the most part, was cooperative. We are often asked, "how many years have you been doing this"? Our records seem to be a bit vague in that area-we do recall one year when there was wet snow-so the start of the event must have been before global warming started!
Retail Shop Manager Rachel and the editor attended the Seneca Lake Wine Trail meeting on Tuesday. During the meeting we were presented the results of a comprehensive survey that was targeted at learning more about customers who visit the trail during wine trail sponsored events. It was somewhat eye-opening in that sometime trail members feel the events are too big, and as a result people do not enjoy the events; the survey indicated the opposite, as people seem to enjoy the excitement. It's sort of like going to a dance in a large room with only six couples being there as compared to one in the same room with fifty couples.
Another lesson: the word "experience" used one way, eg: "I had a great experience at the State Fair" , is different than the Wine and Cheese tasting experience (meaning educational/informative) at XYZ winery was not worth the money. Or simply put - offering "experiences" is not the same as having a good time (experience).
Thought for the Week: Talk vs. Action
"It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action."
The sky is cloudy over the vineyards of Glenora and the shores of Seneca on this the second Sunday of September (it is going fast). The temperature is 58 degrees with the wind coming from the west at 4 miles per hour. Lake temperatures: Keuka-73 degrees: Seneca-71.2 degrees. There is lake fog rising from Seneca almost every morning - another sign of pending Fall.
In the vineyards: The date has been set as plans have been made to start harvest at Knapp this coming Wednesday, September 11th! Plans are to harvest the seedless grapes that will be used for distilling - eventually becoming either brandy, Limoncello, Limeoncello, Cucumber Vodka, or Lavender infused Gin - all Knapp products. We do use a bit of it to fortify our Port at both Knapp and Glenora. The other grape that will be harvested will be the Siegerrebe thus depriving the birds of their daily ration of grapes. The first day of harvest is always exciting as it marks the beginning of the culmination of a year's work in the vineyard and the start of a year, or longer, of work in the winery. Another part of the excitement this year is that for Knapp Vineyard Manager Chaz will be his first year atop (operating) the harvester. He has been doing lots of "road tests," but the first trip down a row of grapes is always exciting.
Winemakers Steve and Rachel are checking different blocks of grapes on an almost daily basis. Rachel has her planned visits listed on our company Google calendar so everyone can see what she are Steve are up to as far as vineyard sampling. Perhaps we could put a GPS chip on them and then we could really track them - no more stops at "Big Johnsons" or if there is they will be documented!!
Friday was a very busy day at all three wineries as we hosted events at all the wineries in conjunction with the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, which is part of the United States Grand Prix Festival (one of the largest vintage car festivals in the United States). Glenora hosted the 26th running of the famous Glenora Run (limited to vehicles manufactured before 1986). Glenora's Maintenance Engineer Joel took part in this as he was the navigator for one of the entries. Knapp hosted the Sporting Roadsters Rally, and CLR hosted two groups who were part of the Founders Tour- open to all vehicles but a preference given to smaller vehicles. The events are always exciting - lots of interesting cars, lots of interesting people, and lots of cooperation from Mother Nature this year. We have been producing a special labeled wine for these events since the inception of the Grand Prix Festival 26 years ago. On Saturday morning Joe Serphillips, Glenora wine presenter extraordinaire, brought in a bottle (empty of course) that was sporting a label celebrating/noting the 46th Anniversary of the first running of the US Grand Prix -the first running taking place on October 2nd 1948. The label celebrates the 46th running of the event-the year 1994 which was the second year of the Watkins Grand Prix Festival-lots of numbers and history. If you would like to see the cars that left Glenora on Friday check on the Glenora Facebook page as marketing director Heather posted a live feed on the page - it will give you an idea of the event and the cars.
This coming week is National Housekeepers Week. The Glenora Housekeeping Team is an exceptional group of ladies. Unlike many of the various team members at Glenora, they generally are almost invisible (even their office is hidden) as they travel up and down the halls of the Inn spending lots of time cleaning in the rooms - but the results of their efforts is very visible. Thank you, ladies!
It has been a wedding weekend at both Knapp and Glenora. Chef John and his team at Knapp's Vineyard Restaurant hosted two (yes two) rehearsal dinners on Friday evening and then a wedding and reception yesterday. At Glenora, it was a wedding and a reception on Saturday, and today the Glenora team will be hosting a group of 50 AAA members from southern New Jersey.
Chef Orlando has placed the Lobster Order - 750. However, we can order more (and most likely will) as ticket sales for Leaves and Lobsters are coming in at a steady pace. He also tells us that the clams that will be served are "free-range clams" as compared to "farm-raised clams". The free-range clams apparently taste better and live longer. Perhaps we could have a clam tasting (similar to a wine tasting). Are there clam bloggers, clam writers, clam critics? If not there are a plethora of all those types that are self-appointed wine experts - perhaps they could learn a new trade.
Thought for the week: Education
"The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values." (Hopefully)