Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Nouveau 2013

Yesterday was “Black Friday” and for a number of years we have participated by opening early (11 am, I like to get my rest) and by having a few “doorbuster” sale items. We had a nice steady flow of customers and we sold a good bit of wine and a few of the doorbuster items. We had a Wine Nite as part of the evening festivities and a lot of folks came out for that.
One lady said she appreciated we were not packed with customers. True, business was steady all day, but we were never packed. We are packed on Chocolate and Cheesecake festivals; we are really busy on Open House days. But on Black Friday we had time to spend with customers, especially those buying gifts of wine for friends and family.

A common problem people have is which wine to buy for a person whose taste they do not know well. We tend to steer folks to the best sellers based on whether their recipient like sweet or dry wine. If that is unknown, we tend to suggest those in the middle, off-dry to semi-sweet.

A winner this year is our so-called “Nouveau” wine for 2013, STOCKDALE. This past September we were choosing what grapes we wanted to buy for this fall to make for 2014. On a whim, I bought a French-hybrid grape I had used in years past called “Baco Noir”, typically made into a dry red wine.

So I bought a small batch of the Baco, with the intent of trying to make a young, drinkable wine we could feature on Black Friday as our celebration of the 2013 vintage. We ferment our juice into wine at very cold temperatures, 60-65 degrees, so it can take 25-30 days for a full fermentation.  We started the process on October 21 and on November 18 I moved the wine (“racking” in wine-speak) into a clean barrel and let it set for five days to settle it a bit, then we bottled it. On Thursday (28th) we test-tasted it and declared it very good! We decided to not sweeten it at all, it was below ½ percent residual sugar and tasted best slightly chilled. So that’s what we got and happily, customers liked it well enough to buy it on its release the next day.

Of course, it could have been bitter and harsh, as many new wines are and not at all drinkable. My experience is an ingredient to making a great wine, but it all starts with the fruit and we got some dandy fruit in 2013. We hope you’ll stop in before 2014 and try some now, including our Nouveau…

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surviving September, On to October!

Life in the winery is rarely boring. Looking back over the last few weeks, we survived the Cheesecake Festival crowds, and we move forward to the next big event, our Fall Open House. I am pleased at the response every spring and fall to our opening of the winemaking area and the 20 minute tours we offer, explaining our unique winemaking methods.

The Fall Open House also brings the release of our new sweet apple wine for 2013: KOKOMO CIDER. After making this wine for ten years, many of you already know how popular this wine is and the high demand it brings as we move in to the holiday seasons.  For all but last year, we have gotten our apple juice from the local Hainlen Orchard. The 2012 drought killed the apple crop, so we went north to Michigan and found some good apple juice. We expect the good apple crop will allow us to return to local apple for next year, but this 2012 vintage show good promise.

On Saturday, October 5, we will have Kokomo Cider for tasting and sale. But not just tasting as a cold, refreshing beverage, but also as a hot, spiced wine you can make to delight friends and (adult) family.  Right now, we have the dry INDIANA APPLE on the shelf, using the same juice, so stop in and try a taste, you will be surprised.
 Another new wine on the shelf is RED BRIDGE, a dry cranberry wine we bottled a small batch of to satisfy the demand of some of our wine club members. We had done some barrel tasting with the wine club and they kept saying “the dry cranberry was good, bottle it!” I never planned on making a dry cranberry, this is the next vintage of our Bordermen, a sweet cranberry. That wine is still in production, but we have Red Bridge right now.

Hope to see you ALL at the Fall Open House!

Friday, May 17, 2013

so summer is upon us...

Warm weather is finally upon us and the winery is amping up for a busy summer. May 18 isour Spring Open House and I always enjoy giving tours of our little facility.

Indiana wine news is all good. There was a late frost that may have caused some damage to the grapes in some hoosier vineyards, but most vines survived well. Several new vineyards statewide are coming into fruit for the first time and we look forward to that new crop

New hoosier wineries are opening every year. As we approach our tenth anniversary we recal when we opened we were one of few wineries north of Indianapolis. Now we have four within less then an hours drive of us.

EE winery near Huntington is hoping to open Memorial Day weekend and we look forward to it! The new "wine" wine trail is debuting this sumner. And Vintage Indian is coming soon!

We have been working hard on some new wines and the old favorites are here as well.  We hope you'll stop in for a taste; a glass; or a bottle soon.