Welcome to the Heron Hill Winery Blog!

Meet our bloggers and find out what's going on at Heron Hill Winery and our other two tasting rooms on Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes! Staff members are writing about the vineyards, what's happening in the cellar, fun events, wine pairings, new releases and more.

Meet the Authors
 

Erin Rafalowski marketing manager   Nicolette DeAngelis Heron Hill  
John Ingle Erin Rafalowski Nicolette DeAngelis  

Aimee Heron Hill Seneca Lake

 

 
Tambi Schweizer Aimee Coates    

 

Erin Rafalowski
 
August 29, 2016 | Erin Rafalowski

13 Wines Win 13 Medals

Heron Hill Double Gold Red Blend Double Gold Winning White Wines
 

Heron Hill Winery submitted thirteen wines in the 2016 New York Wine & Food Classic, and we were proudly awarded thirteen medals!

Double Gold:
Ingle Vineyard The Chosen Spot red blend 2013
Ingle Vineyard Riesling 2014 (SOLD OUT)
Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015, Morris Vineyard

 

Gold:
Classic Semi-Sweet Riesling 2014


Silver: 
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)

Bronze:
Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013
Save the White Deer blend

 


 

Time Posted: Aug 29, 2016 at 10:44 AM
Barry Tortolon
 
June 17, 2016 | Barry Tortolon

Here Comes Summer and 2015 New Wine Releases

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!

Time Posted: Jun 17, 2016 at 10:02 AM
Erin Rafalowski
 
May 27, 2016 | Erin Rafalowski

Blaufränkisch Takes Root at Ingle Vineyard

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!

vineyard sites at Ingle Vineyard Ingle Vineyard soilnew vineyard site spring buds on vines

“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

Time Posted: May 27, 2016 at 12:46 PM
Erin Rafalowski
 
March 28, 2016 | Erin Rafalowski

Rave Reviews for Heron Hill Rieslings

As we happily hit spring in the Finger Lakes, Heron Hill is pleased to continue the tradition of making world-class Rieslings. Since the beginning of 2016, we've received some excellent score in top wine publications and wine competitions.  Each year Heron Hill’s winemaker makes a full range of Rieslings from dry, single-vineyard wines to sweet, ethereal dessert wine.  What most excites Heron Hill’s owners & staff is when we meet people who have found a favorite style of Heron Hill Riesling and that wine has become their go-to Riesling to pair with certain foods or for particular occasions. Scores and medals still have meaning and we certainly appreciate judges & wine reviewers that have made tasting wine a life's passion. It will always be about people just enjoying our wine and choosing to share Heron Hill wines with their friends & family!

  • 91 points Ingle Vineyard Riesling 2012, Wine Enthusiast
  • 90 points 'Best Buy' Classic Dry Riesling 2013, Wine Enthusiast
  • Best of Class 'New York' Classic Semi-Dry Riesling 2013, Grand Harvest Awards*
  • Double Gold, Classic Semi-Sweet Riesling 2014, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

Grand Harvest Awards Best AVA Top scoring Rieslings

*At the Grand Harvest Awards, judges taste wines with other wines of the same appellation. Established in 1990, it is the only wine-judging event in North America that is based on Terroir

Time Posted: Mar 28, 2016 at 10:27 AM
Nicolette DeAngelis
 
January 4, 2016 | Nicolette DeAngelis

2016 Wedding Season

What a glorious 2015 season…and now I look forward to what 2016 will bring! I want to take this opportunity to introduce Nicolette DeAngelismyself. My name is Nicolette DeAngelis and I am the new Wedding & Events Coordinator for Heron Hill Winery. I have been a part of the Heron Hill team for nearly two years. I began working behind the tasting bar and interning while I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Mansfield University. Upon graduating this past May, I spent some time on the road working in wholesale selling Heron Hill wines. I transitioned to assisting with events in mid-July under the mentorship of the previous event coordinator, Elke Schmitt. I am so excited for this wonderful opportunity and to bring couples’ visions to life at this breathtaking venue in the Finger Lakes.

Here are some of my favorite wedding details from the past season:

The First Look
     One of my favorite aspects of weddings is the star-struck reactions couples exchange when they see each other for the first time on their special day. It is an overwhelming moment and absolutely irreplaceable. The “First Look” is when couples actually see each other before the ceremony and specifically take time to photograph this special moment. It makes the moment more intimate and allows for crisp and precise pictures, then the couple uses less of their time during the reception for picture taking.

lighting on the lawn Heron HillLighting on the Lawn
     The Heron Hill lawn adjacent to the main event tent is a stunning aspect of the venue with its lush colors and dangling greenery. Some couples this past season brought in extra bistro lighting and tables for the lawn so it could be utilized after dark. It brings a romantic feel to the area and is the cherry on top of an already beautiful outdoor landscape.

“Pick a seat, not a side”
     Typically, seating for a ceremony is split between the “Bride’s side” and the “Groom’s side.” Some couples chose to have everybody blend together and veer away from labeled seating. This brought a special synergy to ceremonies as well as avoided the confusion of guests figuring out on what side to sit. 

There are a few aspects of my job that make me love it so much. My absolute favorite part is the relationship I gain with couples. In order to envision exactly what they want their wedding day to be, I get the opportunity to get to know who they are and what is important to them. Every couple is dramatically different and that is my second favorite part of this job. The event tent has different ambiance every single weekend. It keeps me intrigued and challenged to execute unique weddings every week. My third favorite part of the job is seeing the connection that happens at weddings. There is nothing quite like seeing the love in couples’ eyes throughout the evening…a tearing up during a father-daughter dance, or a maid-of-honor gushing over how much love she has for the couple. It is an event where everybody sees the bigger picture about how important it is to love those close to us, which can be overlooked in the day-to-day shuffle.

Overall, I have such a passion for this job and creating memorable experiences is my number one priority. I am ecstatic to see what 2016 brings...there are sure to be many beautiful weddings and exciting new experiences!

Time Posted: Jan 4, 2016 at 8:47 AM
John Ingle
 
November 24, 2015 | John Ingle

Thanksgiving at the Ingle home

Thanksgiving at the Ingle home is a perfect opportunity to share the Ingle Vineyard lifestyle with family and friends. Being an avid gardener as well as a grape grower, Thanksgiving is all about homegrown. The festivities begin with Ingle Vineyard Chardonnay unoaked, our favorite wine! Crisp and refreshing with complex flavors of apple and lemon, it satisfies the palate. As we move into the dinner mode our thoughts turn to turkey and a versatile red such as the just released Ingle Vineyard Merlot Reserve 2013. A bright and juicy wine with medium body and a silky mouthfeel that will nicely complement the assorted organic homegrown delicacies such as sweet peas, mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes (yes, all from our Finger Lakes garden) and stuffing made with our carrots, celery, herbs and raisins. Traditional and time-tested flavors. For dessert we look forward to our organic apple cider pie paired with a delicious Ingle Vineyard Icewine 2010. This is a luscious wine that has an intriguing aroma of glycerine followed by creamy sweet flavors of quince and pear – nice foil for the pie.

John Ingle with produce from his garden Heron Hill Reserve Merlot for Thansgiving

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it’s all about family, sharing, counting our blessings and enjoying our home. All recommended wines are available at our three tasting rooms and online at heronhill.com. Enjoy!

Heron Hill Winery, Heron Hill Tasting Room at Bristol, and Heron Hill Tasting Room on Seneca Lake are closed on Thanksgiving Day, however please join us for Small Business Saturday. Visit any one of our three locations on November 28th for storewide wine discounts and holiday cheer.

Time Posted: Nov 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM
John Ingle
 
October 15, 2015 | John Ingle

Harvest 2015 plods along in the Finger Lakes.

The harvest season plods along, day-to-day, vineyard-to-vineyard, weather report to report -- it’s hurry up then wait. This convoluted vintage of freezing winter, wet summer, hot September and now cooperative October weather has brought in some beautiful grapes. The scant harvest (1.2 tons) of Pinot Noir brought exciting brix (sugar) levels and great jammy flavors.  The Chardonnay, again a scant quantity (8.5 tons) was declared "perfect" by winemaker Barry Tortolon.  Now we are into the Riesling. Finally good quantities to go with exceptional quality. The 7.5 inches of rain we had in June helped to develop Botrytis (the "noble rot"). We hope this block of Riesling brings a very interesting dessert wine. Next will be Merlot, then Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, late harvest and icewine.

 

Barry Tortolon winemaker with chardonnay harvest time at Ingle Vineyard Riesling bunches from harvest 2015 Heron Hill
Winemaker Barry Tortolon inspecting Chardonnay from Ingle Vineyard; checking Brix in the early morning; clean & ripe Riesling from Keuka Lake.

HeronHillWinery on Instagram Follow HeronHillWinery on Instagram.
 
Time Posted: Oct 15, 2015 at 7:04 AM
Erin Rafalowski
 
September 3, 2015 | Erin Rafalowski

Harvest 2015 Pre-Show at Ingle Vineyard

Early this morning at Ingle Vineyard overlooking the west side of Canandaigua Lake, John Ingle chats with Good Day Rochester's own Hannah Welker about our nature-friendly viticulture practices and all the magic that happens before we begin another grape harvest. This is one of five videos in the series "Vineyard preps for fall harvest," view all on the Good Day Rochester site here >

Here's a report from Don Reisenberger, our vineyard manager overseeing the estate vineyards on Keuka Lake:

After a long cold winter and a wet spring, Summer finally arrived at Heron Hill Winery and Ingle Vineyard. We did experience some bud damage due to the cold winter, but overall it looks like we are going to have an average to above average harvest depending on the variety. When pruning in the winter, we leave extra length on the canes to increase the number of buds that break through in anticipation of some bud kill.

However back-to-back cold winters have depleted the red yields. This is the time of year where you experience warm days and cool nights, and this is begins the process of the grapes ripening. Typically Chardonnay is the first to come in…after, of course, the Seedless Concords for our Heron Hill grape juice. We could be anywhere from three to six weeks out for picking Riesling. We will closely watch the vineyards and check brix levels from multiple vines to determine the best timing for each vineyard site. It’s in Mother Nature’s hands. These recent hot and dry late summer days have been perfect, hopefully She doesn’t dish us more rain in the fall. The berries have already swelled in absorbing moisture; they just need sun to ripen. At Ingle Vineyard, we are beginning to prepare the ground for some new plantings in the coming Spring. This year, it looks like we will again have a select yield of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Ingle Vineyard in additional to our staples of Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Vidal Blanc will round out the end of harvest in hopes of crafting a luscious Late Harvest wine.

Time Posted: Sep 3, 2015 at 1:23 PM
Aimee Coates
 
July 10, 2015 | Aimee Coates

Summer Tasting Room Happenings on Seneca Lake

Summer is in full swing at Heron Hill’s Tasting Room on Seneca Lake! With plenty of picnic tables on our private patio, it’s a great spot to relax with a glass of your favorite Heron Hill wine and eat a casual lunch. The grill is hot and we’re offering delicious chicken kabobs and all beef hot dogs on Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. Yes, our tasting room is pet-friendly as long as your pet is friendly and on a leash.

grilled kebabs at Heron Hill on Seneca Lake patio at Heron Hill on Seneca Lake

We had to say a heartfelt goodbye to two longtime team members this June. Most of you know the familiar faces of our manager Steve Acker and his wife Pam, who greeted so many of you over the years. They have officially retired and moved on to a very busy schedule of grandkids, volunteer positions and hopefully some much deserved relaxation. In addition, our pint-sized librarian, Rachel, has taken on yet another wonderful position in our community. She’s now the media specialist for “Our Town Rocks” – a health improvement project for the town of Dundee, NY. We miss them immensely but wish everyone well, and we hope to still see all them often as they are sure to stop-by to replenish their stock of Heron Hill wine. Aimee Coates is now at the helm with one of the very best tasting room teams on Seneca Lake.


Thank you, Pam & Steve Acker!

Some new faces at the Seneca Tasting Room…

Jacob as joined us and is doing a great job outside cooking at the grill before he heads off to college in the fall. We have yet another amazing Nancy on our team – she’s a local schoolteacher who has a great personality and extensive wine knowledge. You can still find the original Nancy here on the weekends, as well as Donna, Doreen, Erin and Susie. We welcome you to stop by to say hello and taste Heron Hill’s newest wine releases including Ingle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Eclipse Red 2013, and Reserve Blaufränkisch 2013. Our intimate Tasting Room on Seneca Lake is open daily; Monday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.

Time Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 12:15 PM
Erin Rafalowski
 
June 26, 2015 | Erin Rafalowski

Blue Heron Cafe Now Open Daily with New Offerings

Heron Hill Winery’s popular Blue Heron Café is now open daily through the summer. With panoramic views of rolling vineyards along beautiful Keuka Lake, the Café and outdoor terrace provide one of the best settings in the Finger Lakes region for savoring Heron Hill’s full portfolio of Finger Lakes wine and freshly-prepared food in a casual outdoor atmosphere. The Café serves sandwiches, salads, flatbread pizza, and creative daily specials all featuring housemade dressings and sauces -- Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   an on Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m.  

New York craft beers are now available on draft at Blue Heron Café! The selections will rotate throughout the summer and fall and will include some of New York’s newest craft breweries. Guests may enjoy as a flight of four beers, order by the pint, or take a filled growler with them. The popular Wednesday Happy Hour series will return in July and August when Blue Heron Café extends its hours to 7pm. This year Happy Hour at Blue Heron Café will also include new menu items such as tacos and new drink specials offering beer, wine, and sangria. A rotating line-up of musicians jam on the Café terrace during Happy Hour.

The sounds of live music also fill the Blue Heron Café Terrace every Sunday afternoon through September. Visitors are encouraged to sip, eat, relax and enjoy free live music by a rotating mix of talented area musicians from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. To learn about fresh-picked specials and the latest music happenings, ‘like’ the Blue Heron Café on Facebook.

flatbread pizza paired with Heron Hill wine NY craft beer flight at Heron Hill Winery in Hammondsport

LIVE MUSIC SCHEDULE FOR HERON HILL WINERY OVERLOOKING KEUKA LAKE
 

Café Terrace Series
Sundays, 12:30 to 4:30pm

BHC Happy Hour Series
Wednesday, 5-7pm
Tunes in the Tent
Sundays, 12:30-4:30pm

July 5th - PJ Elliott

July 12th - Owen Eichensehr

July 19th - Charlie Ellis

July 26th - Scott Adams

 August 2nd - Charlie Ellis

August 9th - Owen Eichensehr

August 16th - Lisa Zelazny

August 23rd - Acoustic Pawnshop

August 30th - Acoustic Remedy

September 6th - Shepard Pi

September 13th - Lisa Zelazny

September 20th - Owen Eichensehr

September 27th - Rick Whalers

July 1st - Alec Smith

July 8th - Charlie Ellis

July 15th - Anton Flint

July 22nd - Bruce Holler

July 29th - Acoustic Remedy

August 5th - Nate Miner

August 12th - Charlie Ellis

August 19th - Bruce Holler

August 26th - PJ Elliott

October 4th - Crosseyed Cat Band

October 11th - Virgil Cain

October 18th - The Keuka Katz

October 25th - Black Diamond Express

 

Time Posted: Jun 26, 2015 at 9:21 AM
Featured Wine

Riesling icewine
Riesling Icewine
Shop now >

Heron Hill Wine Club
Next Event

Wood Fired Pizza, 5-8pm
every Saturday through Sept.
Tasting Room at Bristol, Canandaigua

Ingle Vineyard Harvest Celebration
Saturday, Oct. 15, 12-5pm
Tasting Room at Bristol, Canandaigua