Friday, September 25, 2009

Beaujolais or Bust?

Work, work, work! Yes, I have been busting the chops a bit in the winery (whaaaa!) No pity huh? Well, that’s OK, its what it is after all. Its funny how you can have a true passion for your work but still have days work sucks. But I suspect that’s true of many people, good days, bad days.

So the juice is fermenting and the wine is getting bottled and we are getting tight on space in our little 25’ x 30’ winemaking area. We keep talking about adding on, but I am a bit cheap, so I keep squeezing in barrels, tanks, and other stuff.

This weekend we will start to consolidate the fermenting wine into new barrels. You cannot fill a tank or barrel full because fermenting juice foams up quite a bit, some more then others. Once the primary fermentation is done, you need to transfer all the almost-wine to full tanks and barrels, where it continues to make its way to becoming drinkable wine. We have six different batches that are ready to move, so my weekend is pretty much scheduled.

On top of that, we are behind in getting the new fruit wines bottled, blackberry and red raspberry in particular. We did get a new wine on the shelf, an off-dry, slightly sweet Vidal we call WINDFALL you might want to try. The new version of SWAYZEE is on the shelf, a great food wine with the barest hint of sweetness. The new dry red, HANGING ROCK is a Foch we are very happy with, we hope tasters like it too.

We have had a lot of requests for our BORDERMEN cranberry wine and we hope to have that out before November. We should be able to keep up this fall with all the fruit wines, once we get them back on the shelf.

We have pretty much all the 2008 vintage on line now and are hard at work on the 2009. We hope to have some surprises for you when you come back in six to nine months to see the first of the new vintage. I was asked the other day whether we would have a Beaujolais Nouveau style wine to offer this year. Oh, what is“Beaujolais” you ask?

It’s a French tradition of drinking the first wine of the new vintage which began a long time ago, but became popular in the early 20th century. The release and process is regulated by law in Europe but not here, so here in the USA when a winery talks about its Beaujolais wine, it’s the first release.

Typically, these early French wines are light in character, often served chilled (!), and fruity in taste. It seems the concept of having a Beaujolais party on November's third Thursday (19th this year) is more about having a party then the wine itself. Half the fun is knowing people around the world are doing what you are doing, drinking red wine before its time.

Now, back to the question “Will Oak Hill Winery have a Nouveau style wine this year?” I don’t know yet, but I was thinking we might see if any of our new reds were drinkable by the 21st, the third Saturday in November (we’re not French, after all) and we just might have a barrel tasting that day…?? We’ll see, keep checking back and we’ll let you know!

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