The holidays season, Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, also marks the most popular time of year for couples to get engaged. Once the rush of holiday parties passes, the newly betrothed embark on the journey of planning their most special day. Choosing a venue and announcing a wedding date are likely the first large tasks a couple faces together. With so many choices and questions to be considered, and family members opinions to manage, it can quickly turn into a season of stress and confusion for the newly engaged.
As the Wedding Coordinator at Heron Hill Winery, my ever-present goal is to assist couples to stay in a space of joy as they set out to choose where they will celebrate their dream wedding. If you or someone you love is newly engaged, I offer these tips to keep the focus on the love and joy that brought you to this point.
Images by LoveWell Weddings - a dynamite wedding photographer we would recommend to capture your day.
- Decide together what type of feel you want for your celebration before you start your venue search. Do you want a formal affair or relaxed summer party, or somewhere in between? What will match who you are as a couple and make it feel unique and personal to your love story? As you search for and tour venues, keep coming back to what you decided as a couple you want the day to feel like for your guests. Choose the venue that aligns with the vibe you envision the most and you will have less effort and costs overall in creating the atmosphere you want for your day.
- Determine the size of your wedding. Come up with an estimated guest count together before you tour venues that can not accommodate you. Remember to calculate that between 10 to 20 percent of your invited guest list will decline.
- Be flexible with your date and finding the perfect venue will be easier. Hold off on choosing and announcing a date until you have booked your venue.
- Know your budget and only tour venues that accommodate it. Being entranced by a setting you could never afford has you managing disappointment along with every other heightened emotion wedding planning can cause. Contact the venue and ask for a formal quote, and what is and what is not included, before booking a tour.
- Know how hands on you want to be. Every venue varies in what set up and clean up is included or not. A rustic barn may have you hanging lights and renting all the tables and chairs and setting them up yourselves. That likely means you will be tearing it all down yourself, as well. How do you want to spend your wedding day from start to finish? Hands on or doted upon? It is a very important decision to answer before you search for venues.
- Identify what you can and can’t control and then let go. Weather cannot be controlled. Fretting about the rain in June or the heat in August is a waste of precious energy that could be spent on joy. Focus on the details that you can plan together and let your day unfold happily without letting things you cannot control dampen your bliss.
Being engaged should be joyful and set the tone for not only your wedding day but the life you seek to build together. Take advantage of this time of year for your wedding planning, many venues and vendors offer specials knowing it is engagement season! At Heron Hill, from now through February, we are offering a free ceremony (value of $800) to couples who book their 2019 wedding date. If you dream of your day being set in the rustic elegance of FLX Wine Country, where your guests can enjoy a summer or early fall evening overlooking the vineyards that surround Keuka Lake, please give me a call or visit our wedding homepage for more details. I look forward to putting a glass of wine in your hand while we discuss your vision for your celebration and tour our beautiful grounds together.
Happy new year and happy engagement!
Love and Joy,
For decades, Heron Hill Winery has been commited to making superior cool-climate wines but also giving back to the local Finger Lakes and western New York community. Owners, John and Josephine Ingle are particularly passionate about programs and organizations that benefit conservation, arts, and family services. In 2016, the winery started a charity wine program that would benefit a local non-for-profit organization that they support. The Seneca White Deer Inc. was the receipent for last year's donations.
This is a perfect time to give you all a recap and update on the Seneca White Deer Inc. and how the $4,500 we were able to raise helped them out! The mission of the organization is to preserve the unique wildlife and military history of the former Seneca Army Depot through conservation, ecotourism and economic development. White deer and other wildlife occupy the land.
With the help of our charity wine program, as well as other many generous donors, the organization will begin to offer full-scale bus tours at the former Army Depot starting this fall as well as updating visitor facilities. The tours will feature the world’s largest herd of white, white-tail deer, other wildlife and military and historic artifacts. These tours will offer a unique experience for tourists and have potential to provide substantial economic benefits to the Seneca County community. Thank you to everyone who purchased the "Save the White Deer" Riesling-Chardonnay wine. The contribution will help in their fundraising and conservation efforts to continue to save the white deer, preserve the land and increase visitation to the area. To check out more information on Seneca White Deer or how you can help, visit senecawhitedeer.org.
This year, we're happy to announce that we are partnering with The EquiCenter in Honeoye Falls, NY.
Heron Hill Winery has been supporting the organization for several years starting when John Ingle installed raised beds to kickstart their gardening program. The EquiCenter is a 501(c)(3) organization that offers therapeutic equine programs for those with disabilities, veterans, at-risk youth and their families to help foster personal growth and achievement. They continue to expand their offerings to fit the needs of the people they serve such as canine-assisted activities, adaptive yoga and farm-to-table culinary classes. President and CEO at the Equicenter, Jonathan Friedlander, states that he is "so honored to be chosen for this year's charity for Heron Hill Winery. Our programs will benefit greatly from this partnership".
Pictured on the right: Eric Frarey, COO of Heron Hill Winery, John Ingle, Owner of Heron Hill Winery, Howie Jacobson, Board of Directors Member at EquiCenter and Jonathan Friedlander, President and CEO of EquiCenter
With each case sold of the wine, $24 will go directly to benefit The EquiCenter. The wine will be released in all three Heron Hill tasting rooms on Keuka, Seneca and Canandaigua Lake, some wine retailers within Ontario & Monroe County and online on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017. The bottle will retail for $19.99. For the release, each of the Heron Hill tasting rooms will have complimentary samples of the wine. A representative from the EquiCenter will be at the Keuka Lake Tasting Room from 2-6 pm, and our Summer Happy Hour and live music will follow at 5 pm.
Lastly, you're probably wondering what the wine tastes like! After we bottled the wine, our winemaker, Barry brought out the wine for us to try. The approachable, semi-dry wine consists of 70% Riesling and 30% Chardonnay, both varieties that truly show what we're all about here. On the nose, you might find notes of honeysuckle like I did. The wine boasts flavors of orange blossom and manderin with a zesty finish. About 200 cases were produced of this wine, and it's guarenteed to sell out fast. Visit any 3 of our tasting rooms to get your hands on this wine while supporting this great cause or purchase them here!
After three years of super cold winters, devastating spring frosts and greatly reduced grape yields, 2016 was a relatively benign winter with minimal frost incidents and, thankfully, a normal to above normal crop size. Throw in a hot, dry summer and we have a recipe for a superb harvest. The reds have deep color and robust flavors, the whites are full bodied and rich and our first dry rosés in over ten years are very intriguing. Great cause for excitement and celebration. Going into 2017, our fortieth vintage, we have great wines in the tanks and barrels and exciting plans for the new year including our first Grüner Veltliner wine, an anniversary celebration and two dry rosé offerings. As the winter progresses we will develop these projects in plan for a memorable 2017 for all.
Heron Hill Winery presented a donation in the amount of $4,500 to Seneca White Deer, Inc. (SWD) at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection office on December 6, 2016 in Canandaigua, NY. In May 2016 Heron Hill Winery released a new Riesling-Chardonnay blend under the Save the White Deer label with proceeds from each bottle sold going directly back to SWD. Thanks to our fantastic customers for showing their support of the Seneca White Deer, the wine sold out in less than four months!
Since 2010 Heron Hill has partnered with SWD in an effort to raise awareness and funds to benefit SWD’s work preserving the unique and treasured animals and their habitat.
"Heron Hill Winery is not only intent on making superior wines but also in giving back to the community. We are very fortunate to have partnered with Heron Hill and we sincerely appreciate this wonderful donation which will be used to further our efforts to protect this unique resource for the world to be able to enjoy," says Dennis Money, president of SWD.
"A lifelong commitment to conservation and philanthropy from our founders John and Josephine Ingle remains an integral part of our business plan at Heron Hill", stated Eric Frarey, Chief Operating Officer. "The wine and donation program were truly embraced by consumers and our entire production was sold out in a short time," Frarey also noted.
To learn more about Seneca White Deer, Inc. visit their web site at senecawhitedeer.org or contact the president. Heron Hill Winery is celebrating 40 years of excellence in 2017. Through the decades, Heron Hill has been committed to supporting conservation in the Finger Lakes region.
This year the Keuka Lake Wine Trail's Keuka Holidays event weekends both sold out by early. We are very thankful that so many people have chosen to celebrate the beginning of their holiday season by visiting our wineries. Once again, the ornament you receive at Heron Hill Winery was made by a local craftsperson. I'm also very excited to share the Mushroom Burgundy Soup recipe below from Blue Heron Cafe because it's so easy and so flavorful!
6 cups of milk
3 cups chopped button mushrooms
1⁄2 diced red onion
1⁄2 bunch of diced green onions
1⁄2 cup chicken stock
1⁄2 cup of Eclipse Red
2 tablespoons of garlic
2 tsp of sage Day-old bread (any type)
1 cup Asiago cheese
In a medium-hot pan with olive oil, sauté the garlic until almost soft then add in the red and green onion. Sweat the onions then add in the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are tender add in the Eclipse Red wine to deglaze. Once the red wine reduces add in the chicken stock and cook for about 5-6 minutes and add milk, leaving on low simmering for about 20 minutes. Add in the sage, salt and pepper to your liking. Once the soup thickens turn off and wait about 10 minutes before serving to cool down the soup. Once cooled top with home style croutons.
TO MAKE HOMESTYLE CROUTONS:
Cut bread into small cubes and toast. Once toasted, toss in olive oil and toss with salt & pepper and top with shredded Asiago cheese.
Heron Hill's Classic Muscat is made with Valvin Muscat, a cross of Muscat Ottonel and Melon Muscat. It's very aromatic and slightly sweet with tropical fruit flavors. The current sale price on this wine makes it a great value for holiday entertaining. Here are two holiday recipes utilizing this wine.
Easy Wine Brine for Turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 quart vegetable stock
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 bottle Heron Hill Muscat
Heat vegetable stock with brown sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Transfer to a shallow pan and chill for 10 minutes.
Mix all remaining ingredients in a very large stock pot or plastic bin (that will fit in your fridge). Place your turkey in the brine and submerge completely. Cover tightly and keep refrigerated for 48 hours, turning once every 12 hours. Remove turkey from brine and roast as you normally would. Discard any leftover brine.
Sweet & Spicy Ham Glaze
2 cups Heron Hill Muscat (this leaves enough for the cook to enjoy while making dinner)
1 pound of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of creole spice mix (such as Tony Chachere’s)
½ cup spicy brown mustard
Juice from one can of pineapple rings
Mix in a saucepan and heat on low stirring it every few minutes.
I use a spiral sliced ham to make carving easier but if you like big, rustic slices buy a ham that has not been pre-sliced.
Place pineapple rings on surface of your fully cooked ham and put a maraschino cherry in the center of each securing with a toothpick.
Pour glaze over entire ham and bake (covered) for 3 hours at 300 degrees.
Remove cover (foil or pan lid) and baste with glaze in the pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for an additional 25-30 minutes to brown nicely.
Did you know? More than a third of Americans own a dog, and many of them like to take their furry companions everywhere, especially when they come to the Finger Lakes on vacation and are coming to places like wineries and restaurants. Well, guess what? We at Heron Hill Winery are very dog friendly!
We offer many doggie treats for sale for your pooch at the winery and love to have them come into the winery as it offers a fun distraction for the staff. For our dog treats, Kiley’s Canine treats, locally sourced from here in the Finger Lakes region offers all-natural gourmet (non-alcoholic) bone-shaped dog biscuits. Don’t think we left out the kitties as well, since they are equally as important, we sell kitty treats for them too!
At the Blue Heron Café on Keuka we love to have the pooches and their owners come dine with us. We have different size water bowls for all size dogs to borrow as they lounge on the patio. We realize that by offering dog owners a place to eat with their pet, we can benefit both you as the consumer and the winery too by having a place to relax with your dog!
In addition to being a dog-friendly location, we work with 2 local animal shelters here in the Finger Lakes region with a couple donation boxes on our front counter. You would be amazed by the amount of money we collect here at the winery during our busy season. The dog shelters have both collected thousands of dollars from us over the past year. We love to support all the animals at the local shelter. Don’t forget to drop your leftover change in the boxes after buying your wine when you stop by with your pooch.
Here are some of the labs that help around the vineyard and winery:
Heron Hill Winery submitted thirteen wines in the 2016 New York Wine & Food Classic, and we were proudly awarded thirteen medals!
Ingle Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay 2014
Classic Dry Riesling 2014
Classic Semi-Dry Riesling 2014
Classic Pinot Noir 2013 (SOLD OUT)
Classic Cabernet Franc 2013
Reserve Chardonnay Unoaked 2013 (not yet released)
Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013
Save the White Deer blend
As we approach Father’s Day and the first day of summer, we at Heron Hill are putting our first wines of the 2015 vintage into the bottle along with some others wines as well. So far, I'm very pleased with the 2015 whites. From last vintage we have the Save the White Deer wine that is a blend of Riesling and Chardonnay mostly from Ingle Vineyard. Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015 has made it into the line-up after being sold out for 6 months. It is a dry, elegant wine sourced from Morris Vineyards on the west side of Seneca Lake. The 2014 Ingle Vineyard Riesling has also been released. Although fairly dry, it can be both enjoyed on its own or definitely with food. Classic Chardonnay 2015 is now in the bottling room awaiting last minute tweaks and will be bottles next week. We are also preparing to bottle the 2014 Eclipse Red…all year we’re celebrating 25 years of this signature Heron Hill red blend and we are looking forward to the celebration party this summer on August 25!
John Ingle selected a slope near where he planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot over 15 years ago to clear a site for planting Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger). What looks like barely a nub peaking out, is supported by a much larger root system buried in the soil, and should produce grapes in 3-4 years. It’s important to keep the new planting covered with dirt as much as possible to hold the moisture.
Heron Hill’s history with Blaufränkisch goes back to 2007 when the winemaker at the time, Thomas Laszlo who had live in Hungary, had a fondness for the variety. Since that time Blaufränkisch has developed a following among Heron Hill’s returning visitors and Heron Hill only produces the wine select years bottling it under the Reserve label. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this new site!
“Buds is the word!” exclaimed John Ingle this week.
Other lots at Ingle Vineyard look good for this point in the year – we’re counting strong numbers of 40+ healthy, lively buds per vine across Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Interestingly, the vines at Ingle Vineyard are a bit further along with larger buds than the Heron Hill Keuka Lake estate vineyards.
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon at Ingle Vineyard have experienced much damage after the past three harsh winters. However, we’re seeing more Pinot Noir buds already this year than the last three year total. Although it’s early in the season and even the smallest things such as wasps can have an impact on harvest, John Ingle is hopeful that we’ll see an increase in Pinot Noir yields this year at Ingle Vineyard
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