Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Friday

So, some of you will not even go to bed on Thursday, because a few of the crazy retail stores open at midnight or 3 am, right? Well, we are not so crazy at the Oak Hill Winery. But we will suggest you stop by and see us after walking your tootsies off and wearing down the stripe on your credit cards. Ok, we might even have a deal or so for you, but what you will really need is a time-out to recoup and rest-up. So here we go...

--yes, even we will open early this friday!
We will open at 11:00 am to give you two extra hours in the winery and...

--from 11 am to 1 pm only:
Save a dollar more per bottle off our regular discounted price!

--Join the Wine Club:
Join at the regular price for one year and two extra free bottles just for joining!

--need to mellow out?
Mugs of hot, spiced Kokomo Cider are just three bucks Friday only!

--One more enticement:
Free cookies and snacks, while they last...

Ok, one more:
--we'll be releasing our NEW NOUVEAU RED wine called VAN BUREN - Its a 2010 Indiana Chambourcin!

- So don't miss the fun from 11 am to 6 pm on Friday at the Oak Hill Winery!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire and Wine

I am sure many of you have heard the news that Grape Inspirations Winery in Carmel burned down last week. I cannot imagine where you start after having your whole business reduced to ashes. I suppose you start out by designing a new building and getting it built. That would shoot a year at least. Then you would probably find another winery where you could start making wine again, under their license, so you’d have product when the new building was ready. Maybe the ATC (state) and TTB (federal) agencies would allow you to use a temporary building to make your wine, but the hassle of setting up such a facility would most likely lead you back to finding another winery where you could work.

Problem is; how many Indiana wineries have space to handle such a process? Every winery I have visited is pretty tight on climate-controlled square footage, although I know a few have helped some new wineries get started before they had a building. So it’s possible, I guess. I hope we never have to face that problem!

What’s new at the winery? We bottled our “Nouveau” style red wine this week, which we will release next Friday (11/26) as our salute to the French Tradition of releasing their new wines on the third Thursday of November. For those wine enthusiasts among us, that is this Thursday (18th) and I am sure many local wine stores will have a batch to sell. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

“Beaujolais nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular 'vin de primeur', fermented for just a few weeks then officially released for sale on the third Thursday of November. This "Beaujolais Day", or "Beaujolais Nouveau Day" sees heavy marketing from the producers, with races to get the first bottles of the vintage to different markets. Beaujolais Nouveau is a purple-pink wine that is particularly lightweight, even by the standards of Beaujolais. The method of production means that there is very little tannin, and the wine can be dominated by fruity, ester flavors of bananas, figs and pear drops. These are enhanced by the frequent recommendation to serve the wine lightly chilled, at approximately 55°F.”

Last year we had several of these new-style wines, but this year we have only a small batch of some Indiana-grown Chambourcin that we handled to be drinkable at this very young age. I am very pleased with the result, as the grapes were picked on September 18; the fermentation began on the 19th and completed (for-the-most-part) by the 28th; then we left the new wine on the skins for two weeks; then pumped off the free-run; and pressed the skins on October 9th. So the wine has only been tanked for five weeks or so and out of the vineyard for two months.

So what does it taste like? Hard to answer, because I have been riding this wine almost daily, watching and tasting. I feel its got a strong Chambourcin flavor, with overtones of ripe fruit, blackberries and currants. I drank about 500ml of the unfiltered stuff left in the hose and filter housing last night and was very pleased. I want to try it well chilled and see how that impacts the flavor. I am quite happy with the color of the wine, although there is a noticeable “muddiness” as you might expect with a young, naturally made wine. Well anyway, stop by on BLACK FRIDAY and enjoy a taste of this new wine. Have a seat and rest your feet after slogging through the malls, enjoy a glass of wine and some Indiana-made cheese.

By the way, last spring I said I would do three things: (1) paint the house; (2) install the new background music system; (3) finish the downstairs trim and paneling. Ok, well the music works now, OK, but its not the end of the year yet, I might still (haw-haw) get some carpentry work done.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Accepting Complaints in this Line...

Ok, Ok, Ok! I know it’s been a while since I posted on here, but gosh-darn-golly-sakes its THAT TIME OF YEAR! Yes, we do just shy of 50% of our business in the last three months of the year, fairly typical for the winery business in general. So we’ve been working hard in the winery and we HAD to take a little get-away for our Fall Missouri Winery Tour. No, you did not miss a notice, every fall we go west with some friends to drink wine and canoe the clear waters of the Ozark Hills. But that’s all over now and we are back in the saddle and riding hard! So what’s going on in the winery?

The press of the 2010 fermented Chambourcin red-grapes went very well, it was the first use of the new, bigger press and I am delighted with the result. A bladder press has a rubber membrane that you fill with water while it squeezes the wine-juice out of the skins. You do not want to press too hard though, the wine will begin to taste bitter as the skins and seeds break down and put undesirable flavors into the juice. With the help of my able assistant, Jamin, we monitored the juice closely until it was just starting to give us that bitter taste and cut it off.

We have set aside a small barrel of this wine to re-ferment and bottle in just a few weeks as our 2010 "NOUVEAU" red wine in the French tradition. You might recall last year was our first effort at a nouveau style red wine and it went well. We will introduce that wine (name to be determined) on November 26th, so plan to stop in on BLACK FRIDAY to relax from the shopping and set a spell and taste some wine.

The winery’s “gift shop” is now pretty well stocked and if you have not seen some on the neat new stuff, you should stop in! The wife is cranking out the gift baskets day by day, every year we sell more than the year before and they start at just $19.99. Keep in mind she will design a basket for you (with notice) to meet your needs and price point.

Well, I’ll try to squeeze in more time to post here, there is much going on to talk about, several new wines coming out in the next 30 days; the winter Free Seminar schedule will be forthcoming; and in December we will have a special program to sign up new Wine Club members, so if you’ve been thinking about that, watch the website and here for a special offer coming in December!