Monday, August 22, 2011

To taste or not to taste

I have been surprised at the number of wineries both in and out of state who have chosen to begin charging for wine tasting and/or severely limit the number of tastes you may try when visiting. If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you would be well aware I am not in favor of paid or limited tastings. I do respect the right of other winemakers to run their business as they see fit.

So why do I revisit this issue? Back in the latter part of June we had a nice little group of ten individuals stop in on a Saturday for a tasting. All went well and they wrapped up their visit sharing a few bottles of wine. As I spoke to them, I asked what brought them to our winery? One of the ladies spoke up quite loudly, “We saw on your website you did not charge for tasting. A lot of wineries want $5 or more per person!” I had to smile as the ten people left with over two cases of wine.

This past Sunday we had a car club stop by as part of a scheduled tour of the area. I received an email today thanking us for the hospitality and commenting on the fact that we were willing to let them try all our wines, which led them to buying wines they would not have typically purchased based purely on sweetness level.

We had planned to hold another winery bus tour this summer, but ran into a problem with the area we wanted to go. Four of the nine wineries we wanted to tour informed us they wanted $5 to $8 a person for group tasting; Five of the wineries informed us we could try six or eight wines only. When these matters were discussed within the bus tour committee, it was determined to cancel the trip and do more research for next spring’s trip so as to avoid this problem.

I would like to hear from you your opinions, feelings, and the effect, if any, that the paid or limited tasting policies have had on your wine buying. It is NOT my intent to start a movement or build a case to convince other wineries to change their policies. We just want to know what you think. Send your thoughts to with the subject line “paid tasting” and I will later print some excerpts from your comments.

And always remember, we offer free winetasting, because at the Oak Hill Winery, the proof is in the tasting!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cheese and Cheesecake

So the summer is hot and the wine is chilled and how can it get better? Our CHEESE DAYS are in full swing! This offers you, the taster, to try not only our wines but some great cheese along with them. “YOU’re just trying to sell me cheese!” you cry. “No” says I, we sell a little cheese its true, but the purpose of CHEESE DAYS is to show you how certain wines go with certain cheeses and how some DO NOT go together. Buy your cheese wherever you like, but we just want you to appreciate wine PLUS cheese.

I am pleased to announce we have set the date for the annual FREE CHEESECAKE FESTIVAL: Saturday, September 17, 1-6pm. This is not an attempt to get you to pair cheesecake with wine, though you can. We love cheesecake, you love cheesecake, we love feeding you cheesecake. So we gather ten commercially made cheesecakes and let you VOTE on which one is the best.

No, no, no, we do not sell cheesecake -but we know before you try the cheesecake, you might try some of our wine too! What a gimmick! Come over and have free samples of some great cheesecakes and some free winetasting too!

In other new, the fruit wines have been coming along slowly and we expect them to be in production sometime in September. Our new cranberry, BORDERMEN, is out and very tasty, but the blackberry and raspberry are slowly “ripening”, so to speak.

We hope to have an announcement soon for those of you who like to dance a little bit. We’ve been working on a “Friday Wine Nite Dance” program for the fall. What does it mean? How much wine does it take to get you to dance? When will it happen? Coming soon…

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

new vintage

So over the few months we have been watching the 2010 wines mature and we have been patient. Now we begin to see the reults. First we've had the dry red VAN BUREN made with Indiana grown Chambourcin grapes on the shelf for several months. We just sent SWEETSER, one of our best selling wines, to the tasting room. This semi-sweet whire is made with Catawba grapes and has yielded another nice wine.

The new BORDERMEN is now out. This cranberry-white wine blend is a nice semi-sweet that has been popular as a fall favorite. This includes the 2010 Niagara as a base. The Niagara is ready to be bottles as JALAPA, a dry white, and as FAIRMOUNT, a very sweet wine. Both should turn up within a few weeks

I like to see the early new vintage wines, they tend to be alittle cloudy and have a bit of sediment, pretty normal for naturally-made wines like ours. We continue to work towards making better wine, but aging is the best method for clarifying. I am patient, but it takes many months to fully clarify some wines due to their make-up. I have a Sav' Blanc that cleared up in four months. But things like that are what makes winemaking interesting...

FREE CHEESE DAYS are coming, August 13 and end when we sample five pounds of Indiana-made cheese ALL UP! hope to see you then!