Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vynecrest winemaker's thoughts on all that goes into making a great red wine

August is a great time of year to come out, taste some wine, and enjoy the view of the vineyard. The grapes are just about ready to go through veraison, where they stop growing and start ripening. The red grapes will turn from green to red and the sugar levels start to rise. This change in color is also a signal for the birds the grapes are about ready to eat.

Just a reminder, the Vyneskeller is open seven days a week. So after you are done tasting you can grab a glass of wine and relax downstairs.

August Specials:
* Wine of the Month - Vynecrest Red - additional 10% off
* 3 Pack of the Month - 3 Bear Naked Chardonnay for $35

*available at the winery only

Aug 30 - Vineyard & Winery Tour, and Jazz Sunday

Vineyard and winery tour begins at noon. $5 per person. Tour should wrap up just in time to enjoy some live Jazz music in the Vyneskeller from 1 - 4 pm.

Glass Half Empty
by Malachi Duffy (left, pictured with Sam Landis)

When I have a glass of Lemberger I think about what went into making the wine that is in that bottle. Arguments over what to plant 4, 5, 6 years or more earlier. Remembering in 2008 we seriously considered ripping all of it out and not making it any more (thank goodness we didn’t follow through with that idea!). Wondering if the vines were going to make it through the sub-zero temps of the winter. Watching bud break and deciding how many clusters to keep. The awesome crew of guys in the vineyard who handle pruning, hedging, picking and everything in between. Prior to harvest, putting together the order for what yeast to use, enzyme and tannin additions, whether to cold soak or not. Tasting Lemberger on the vine when it gets close to harvest time. Arguing (again) over when to pick each lot of Lemberger. Finally picking and fermenting it.

Sam Landis and I having sand wedge contests over who can chip a golf ball into the fermenting red wine (the loser had to punch the caps). Sam punching the caps. Pressing the almost-dry wine and tasting the wine that runs out of the press as it is being crushed. Letting the wine sit for a few months before we put it on oak. Inevitably thinking that I have completely screwed up this vintage and I should have stuck with what I did last year. The following day retasting and not being so scared.

Oak additions to the wine a couple of months later: Some went to oak barrels, some went to Flex Tanks with oak staves and some with oak chips. At the end of the day (sometimes in the middle of the day) pulling samples and making sure everything is “progressing as it should.” That wonderful day when we have to come up with the final blend for Lemberger. Hopefully bottling before the current year runs out so we don’t have empty shelves. Grabbing a bottle as I head out the door to enjoy during dinner with the family.

It’s awesome to have a story about the drink you have in front of you. I am lucky enough to be involved in the process of producing that bottle. But hopefully you also have a story about Vynecrest wine. Maybe you had a great time in the Vyneskeller with friends and family, or you had Vynecrest wine at someone’s wedding. That’s the great thing about local wine, you don’t just go pick it up at the store, there is an experience associated with it. The wines are great by themselves (hopefully) but you can’t buy the moments off the shelf. The moments are what make that wine taste even better.

So, cheers to all the moments!

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