Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Late Summer Update

This is the busy time of year! Why? Because we face the oncoming CRUSH! Ok, that’s wine-speak for the harvest and this year is particularly interesting because the excessive heat has ripened the grapes better and faster than usual.

We like to get a load of Chardonnel grapes every year from southern Indiana and we often pick these up around Labor Day. My guy called me and said, “They’re ready, come get them this weekend!” Getting grapes WEEKS early then usual and with better sugar and acid than ever before is exciting for a winemaker.

We picked up a new wine press from another winery that was upgrading, so we can now process ¾ of a ton instead of 100lbs at a pressing. That will save time and allow us to buy more local fruit than ever before, although the press needs a little work, but we got a great deal on it!

Our business continues to grow, which surprises me a bit. I thought after seven years sales would level off, but we continue to see an uptick in the number of people through our doors, although since the economy crashed our sale-per-ticket is down. So we are attracting more new people to the winery but they buy less per visit than they did two years ago. Hummm…

One problem we are having is we are running out of the 2008 vintage before the 2009 is ready to bottle, oops! Our popular BUNKER HILL is almost gone and will not be back until probably November, along with its dry version, SEVEN PILLARS. This is due to us taking late delivery on some grape juice to allow us to process our new line of dry reds we got last September.

Our new vintage of Niagara wines is very different this year, the FAIRMOUNT has some interesting flavors I have never gotten before, overtones of honey and pear. Its good, but its nothing like its 2008 vintage. JALAPA is the dry version and I have not released the 2009 as we finish up the 2008 vintage. I would call this Michigan-grown grape much softer and less acidic then the last batch.

We are very excited about our 2009 dry Riesling, which has matured very nicely over the past few months. Our 2008 vintage IRON BRIDGE has been popular and one of my favorites, but I think the 2009 will stand up very well to it. We hope to have it in the shop in the next two weeks!

The Summer Wine Club (its full, sorry) bus tour is just around the corner and we are enthused to be visiting several new wineries most of us have never been to. River City Winery in New Albany is hosting us for a tasting and dinner on Saturday and Best Vineyards is one of the Sunday stops. Its always fun to visit new wineries and these are mostly those along the Ohio River, so we don’t get down there too often.

If you have a question about wine, winemaking, or the Oak Hill Winery in genral, write at oakhillwinery@yahoo.com and we'll try to answer it here!

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