Heron HillBlog

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.

 
February 19, 2015 |

Eclipse Red 2011 Awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast

We are very excited to announce that our Eclipse Red 2011 received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine! The full review will be in the May 2015 issue. This Bordeaux-style blend aged 24 months in French oak, Eastern European oak, and American oak barrels. It's round & layered with notes of dark cherry, baking spices, and a hint of cedar. In 2016, Heron Hill Winery will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of our signature red blend!

Eclipse Red MagnumsThe 2011 Eclipse Red blend is composed of 40% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 28% Caberent Franc.

Something about chocolate, even just a bite, is so comforting to me in this cold weather. The Heron Hill team from all three locations, comes together at our Winery in Hammondsport for a monthly Monday morning meeting. Usually there's some tasty baked good served to pair with coffee, tea, and strategy. This month we all loved this Eclipse Red Wine Chocolate Cake. Eric Frarey, our COO and director of sales, and his wife created a delicious dessert recipe featuring Eclipse Red for our February Wine Club newsletter.


ECLIPSE RED WINE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Rich, moist and flavorful, this Eclipse Red Wine cake carries a unique taste and irresistible aroma. The wine makes the chocolate very fudge like with intense flavor. The Merlot in the Eclipse Red wine adds nice cherry notes. As the alcohol does not bake out fully this is the type of dessert you want to make for adults only.

INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powderEclipse Red Wine Chocolate Cake
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
1 cup of softened butter
1 ¼ cup of granulated sugar
½ cup of dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups of Eclipse Red wine

TO PREPARE:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup bundt pan, set aside.
In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside. In a mixer bowl beat together butter and sugar on medium high for 3-4 minutes until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary, beat in vanilla extract.On low speed, beat in or fold by hand the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the wine in two additions, starting and ending with the flour.  Do not over mix.

Pour into bundt pan, bake 45 mins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out to cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.

 

Time Posted: Feb 19, 2015 at 10:38 AM
Christina Bowe
 
February 29, 2012 | Christina Bowe

What's the Winter Wholesale scene like?

With the Tasting Room at Bristol closed for the season, I’m off and running to seek out new homes for our Heron Hill Wines. It’s been a great season for this, since our weather has been unseasonably mild. No worries about traveling in snow and ice.

In the Wholesale Department, January is a relatively slow month, most people are resting from the busy holiday season which begins just before Thanksgiving. The shelves are still loaded with wines, store inventories are being done and staff is regrouping for spring.

I’ve been visiting prospective clients for over 7 years now, it has been a breath of fresh air to hear more and more customers wanting to support New York’s growing wine industry. Their consumers are asking for NY, and the retailers and restaurants are listening. It is a shame that it has taken so long for this to happen, but it’s here and wholesale staff is ready to present Heron Hill all over the State. John Coco, Sales Director has led his team (Mike Oliver and I) to all parts of NYS and we have been having great success.

Last month, I travelled to Oneonta and Binghamton to find several restaurants that listened to their customers and want to bring Heron Hill wine to represent their voids in wine lists. We have several features starting next month: The Oneonta Depot and Bella Michaels.

The Oneonta Depot, which is a charming old train station whose food looks fantastic. Too bad we were on such a tight schedule, after looking at the menu, I would have loved to try it. They will be featuring Heron Hill Chardonnay and Riesling, which we are very excited about. Bella Michaels, an Italian restaurant will be featuring our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this month. This is very exciting for us, since we are not very prevalent in this market.

One of the most interesting restaurants that I have gone to is in Perry, New York. The Hole in the Wall, which opened in 2001, brings upscale and innovative cuisine. Anita Billings, her daughter Jacki and son-in-law Travis have wowed their customers with their creative wine dinners. Weeks ago, Jacki and Travis visited Heron Hill on Keuka and tasted several wines. We’re excited that they’ve chosen Heron Hill for their annual dinner in July. This dinner is a real adventure, its beautifully prepared and presented, with distinct taste and is all around delish! We’re looking forward to July’s dinner to see what the staff at the Hole in the Wall has up their culinary sleeves.

All-in-all life on the road has brought me some pleasant surprises and I am looking forward to educating new customers about Heron Hill wines.
 

Mike
 
February 2, 2012 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

Getting through the winter and ready for the spring

After some much needed rest and relaxation over the holidays, and some quality family time, December came to a close. I had rewarded myself with some much needed time off to wrap up the year, but I hit the ground running at the beginning of January.

This time of year sends me back out on the road to work in the Wholesale market. Traditionally, most of my accounts aren’t interested in sampling wines or discussing new vintages in January because they tend to be “hunkering down” for a slower winter season. Amazingly enough, I have seen some good interest in our wines given this time of year!

I had the opportunity to work with several of our distributor’s sales representatives lately. These trips have taken me from Jamestown to Binghamton. Despite some long hours on the road, they have all paid off; I have had a banner January!

On the Blue Heron Café end of things, this time of year normally gives me a chance to revamp my menu and work on improvements for next year. I have had several meetings with Kara, Tambi, and Paul on a variety of topics. Paul and I have scheduled all of the live music for next year, be sure to look up the schedule (soon to be released)! Tambi and I have discussed Keuka Lake Wine Trail events and I have met with Kara to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to make things go as smoothly as possible.

Looking forward to next season, I’m excited to say that I expect nearly all of my staff from last year to return! With this stumbling block out of the way, I will be able to concentrate on getting the doors open and the food ready to go.

I was able to prepare lunch for a small group that joined us from the New York City area. These buyers came to the winery to try samples from us and three other wineries. I prepared a very nice buffet lunch for the assembled group and the winery representatives that were pouring from them. The group really enjoyed the event!

In the near future, I will have several meetings to look at some possibilities for next season. We have some big plans for the future, but need to get some things moving to be ready for May! For a sneak peek, make sure that you join us for Happy Hour on Wednesdays this summer – some of them will have live music!

Mike
 
May 12, 2011 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

Blue Heron Cafe is opening on May 20th!

Lately, I have been going in several different directions! Primarily, it has been the tail end of my Wholesale season. Between working with our distributor’s sales reps and striking out on my own, I have had a pretty good sales season! The winter brought a flurry of stores adding the fine line of Heron Hill wines and lately, restaurants that are preparing to open have been revamping their wine lists and making room for us. I am currently working on scheduling several wine dinners at local restaurants; look for us to be featured at the Lakeside (on Keuka Lake) and the Village Tavern in Hammondsport in the near future.

My second concentration has been Wine Trail events because unfortunately, the food doesn’t cook itself! February brought the Truffles and Tastes and April showcases the Artisan Cheese event. The April event paired us with Lively Run Creamery and we highlighted the Roasted Garlic and Pepper Chevre. Suffice it to say, the Pesto Cream Pizza with fresh Spinach was a hit, although I think the staff might have influenced the total number of pizzas that I had to make… Next up is Keuka in Bloom this weekend. If you are joining us, I hope you enjoy the Pancetta and Sage Stuffed Pork Loin, check out the recipe here.

With the season finally changing, my third direction is preparing to open the Café. I have been fortunate to discover that some of my staff will be returning. Modifications have been made to the menu, the wine list is being generated, and the tables and chairs will be arriving soon. With a thorough cleaning and some modifications, we will be opening on May 20th. Be sure to look up the Live Music Calendar and join us for a sandwich and a glass of wine! You can also request a menu here.
 

Mike
 
February 9, 2011 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

Welcome baby Morgan!

I would be remiss if I didn’t start by noting the arrival of my son, Morgan Ronald! He was born New Year’s Eve morning. Both Morgan and Mom (Tanya) are happy and healthy. At this point, he has grown to nearly 10 pounds. Sleep has become a precious commodity, but that is to be expected.

Recently, I have returned to the wonderful world of Wholesale Sales. January, despite the weather, proved to be a highly productive month for me! I managed to travel from Cooperstown and Syracuse to Cuba and Salamanca. While riding with our distributors’ sales reps, I managed to sell a fair amount of wine. In particular, I look forward to the addition of the entire Ingle Vineyard series at Allen’s Wine & Spirits in Olean. With John Coco coming on board, I expect to see increased interest while I’m on the road.

A fair amount of my time is devoted to booking store tastings and scheduling events. We will be pouring at Corning’s Cabin Fever this Friday. I have scheduled tastings from Savor Syracuse to the Alfred University Alumni Gala and look forward to the next Cork & Fork.

As for the Café, I was looking forward to a relaxing winter before revamping the menu and beginning to assemble my staff. Kitty, Paul, and Kara have been contacting me about the new menu to pass along to upcoming groups and promotions. With the amazing response to the menu that we saw last year, changes will be minimal. I have had requests for particular items and am considering these.

Additionally, we will be hosting a weekly Happy Hour at the Café. Initially, we were considering Thursday, but Music in the Park may draw our perspective crowd away. At this point, I think that Wednesdays might be a better option. The plan for this event is to offer tapas, wine by the glass, and beer by the bottle. I think that with Kitty’s amazing networking and publicity savvy, we can expect an amazing turn out. I am considering a discount for employees of other wineries…

Next weekend, we have the first Wine Trail event of the year. I will be making Curried Chicken Satays and a Raspberry Cheesecake. The ladies in the office are a bit concerned that I will not be fully prepared for this event, so they recommended that I make an extra cheesecake, just to be sure. With that said, if you are at the winery on Monday, ask for leftovers!

Time Posted: Feb 9, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Christina Bowe
 
January 12, 2011 | Christina Bowe

Heron Hill Loves NYC!

Happy New Year from the Wholesale Department. Welcome to another year! The wholesale section of the blog will continue to be a travel log including meeting new customers and interesting people and visiting new places.

The last event of 2010 was on December 5th. I was honored to attend the New Amsterdam Market (actually very old) just over the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. As you can imagine, the December wind blowing off the East River was icy, however, it was very sunny. Whitney (one of our ace tasters and my daughter) was freezing, but it didn’t stop people from coming to try NY wines. I took the first picture from the back of the market, which is one of the oldest markets and has been in operation since 1642. The view was breathtaking. The area, surrounded by old brick paver roads, was the home of an old warehouse that was converted into a shopping mall, bustling with Christmas shoppers. Behind the warehouse was a miniature golf course, which was obviously closed for the winter, but the view of the bridge was spectacular. There were also quaint little restaurants scattered throughout the streets.


The market was fabulous. Many locals and visitors to NYC were thrilled to have the opportunity to sample wines from over 30 New York wineries at the weekly market. I actually had a couple from New Jersey that saw the advertisement for the event and traveled to the market to get Heron Hill Wines, since we cannot ship wine there. The “localvore” movement in New York City is growing and people are looking to support not only our wines, but also New York products. There were plenty of great vendors considering the time of the year and the chill in the air. Having been working the NY area for several years now, I have found a growing interest in NY wines. Many of customers not knowing where the Finger Lakes are located, makes me giggle, but they are all intrigued at the fact of visiting since it’s merely a few hours away. Here’s hoping to see more “Big Apple” residents visiting the Finger Lakes in 2011.

All in all our successes at the markets in the biggest city in the world have been extremely successful. The exposure has brought lots of new friends for Heron Hill. Hopefully we will continue to attend these markets in 2011.

Christina Bowe
 
October 13, 2010 | Christina Bowe

Heron Hill Goes to NYC GreenMarket

By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager

It was my honor to do two GreenMarkets in the New York City area last weekend. The GreenMarket is a program of GrowNYC and was developed to support local farmers while offering over 600 varieties of delicious farm-grown products to City residents (organic meats, breads, vegetables, soaps, artists and, of course, NY wines.)

This was actually my second visit to the market as a visiting winery. The reception was amazing to NY grown products. These markets are a bit different from any markets I have been to in upstate. These markets require that only locally grown, locally produced items be offered, with the exception of a group of clothing recyclers that had mountains of clothing at the end of the day that they brought to centers to be used by the less fortunate. No crafts, no vegetable wholesalers are allowed to set up. This makes for the most incredible choice of selections.

Brooklyn Market Amazing….Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Both days we were lucky enough to be next to Cayuga Pure Organics. The founders of Cayuga Pure Organics have been involved in the Ithaca, NY farming community since the early 1970's. In 2003 Erick Smith and Dan Lathwell furthered their commitment to the region's citizens and environment by joining together to form Cayuga Pure Organics. They have grains, flour, beans and the most amazing bread I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, they ran out of it on Saturday and then again on Sunday. We didn’t have a chance to purchase.

Milk Thistle farm drives from Ghent, NY to service all the Greenmarkets in the City. They are an intimate, organic farm that knows the cow’s names and allows them to stay outside during the growing season, only bringing them in for milking. They were on the other side of us. I could not get a picture; there were lines of people and our stand was extremely busy. The locals religiously bring their glass milk bottles back to the stand for a new bottle filled with delicious organic milk and even small pints of chocolate (which, of course, I tried…..like melted chocolate ice cream in a bottle.) It was a sight to see that before the end of the day were completely sold out.

Brooklyn's Prospect Park is known for being a family-friendly park, as well as a dog park. We saw every breed of dog at the Westminster Dog Show with some mixed breeds missed in. Families brought their children with picnics, and musicians playing for family at friends. You truly had to be there, a sight to see.

A personal training group set up hula-hoops, yoga mats and other hand-held equipment and all were having a blast trying out the different exercises. A unique marketing tool, but also added to the festivities of the market. If you ever have a chance to go and visit Brooklyn on a Saturday, it is definitely necessary to see.

Manhattan on Broadway at Columbia University, Sunday Morning

The atmosphere was different with the same vendors attending. Set up along the street but it seemed not to have the dedication as yesterday’s market. We were definitely welcome in “The Big Apple” and the exposure of Finger Lakes Wines was amazing. It was amazing to me to hear how many people did not know where the Finger Lakes were located. That just validated the fact that we were educating and exposing consumers to the great wines of the Finger Lakes. The favorites of the consumers were our Ingle Vineyard Series for it's sustainability and the Eclipse series. The Vidal Blanc was a huge hit; unfortunately, I did not bring enough to satisfy the demand.

I am looking forward to next season and the possibility of making it to the markets again. 

Christina Bowe
 
June 16, 2010 | Christina Bowe

Up in North Country

By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager

With only two more weeks left until the 2010 season opening for many of the “North Country” businesses, the trusty Explorer and I ventured to Old Forge and found it to be as beautiful as ever. The sun was shinning, the temperatures were in the mid-70s, a perfect day to explore Old Forge, meet old friends and introduce myself to new customers.

I had forgotten how beautiful the drive was until I reached the town of Thendara, just south of Old Forge. Purple wild lupines lined the highway and guided my way. The roadsides are covered with these beautiful flowers. Wild lupine is a member of the pea family. It produces beautiful bluish-purple flowers in widely scattered clumps on the north and south side of the road. It is unfortunate that they do not last all summer for the entire tourist crowd to enjoy. I'm not sure if this is only in the Old Forge area, but I witnessed it last year and had forgotten until I made the turn into Thendara.
.
My first stop was the OLD FORGE LIQUOR STORE. Always my first stop when entering town. This store opened last season and is doing a great business. The owners, Lisa and Walt were there and gave me a big welcome. Those of you familiar with Old Forge might be aware of Walt’s Diner that serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner and never closes. They have the biggest pancake that I have ever seen, and I don’t believe anyone has actually finished it. The Liquor Store behind the Diner is Lisa and Walt’s latest venture. The store has a great selection of Heron Hill wines as well as some other interesting choices.
NORTHWOODS INN (www.northwoodsinnresort.com), 5 miles north of Old Forge was my next stop. A picturesque setting overlooking Fourth Lake, once again I was escorted by the beautiful lupines on my way up the hill. I met with Adam Shue who is new to the area and to Northwoods. Adam oversees two restaurants on the property, the Mountaineer Restaurant (fine dining) and Lakeside Tap Room for casual eats. Dine at the Mountaineer for an amazing menu with a view to match. If you go to the website you will see what a wonderful getaway Northwoods provides, with cabins, rooms and delicious dining options all situated right on Fourth Lake. If you’re just driving through the area, stop for a fabulous meal and a glass of Heron Hill wine.
BIG MOOSE INN (www.bigmooseinn.com). The Big Moose has new management at the helm this season. This beautiful historic inn built in 1903 sits on a private lake, called Big Moose Lake. I met with Lauren Sleeger who will be overseeing the dining room. New owners, Mark and Susan Mayer, who have over 30 years of hospitality experience behind them, will be in place as your host throughout your stay. After Lauren and I began to taste through our wines, the owner Mark arrived and finished the tasting. We topped it off with a Vinotini (Heron Hill’s latest concoction of Late Harvest Vidal, Vodka and a splash of cranberry, garnished with a frozen grape). Minus the frozen grape, I believe this was a hit.

If you are looking for something to do in Old Forge there is plenty to keep you busy, The Enchanted Forest Water Park, Old Forge Cruise Lines, and my personal favorite the Adirondack Scenic Railroad which leaves out of Thendara at the VAN AUKEN INN (another historical Inn www.vanaukensinne.com ). Again this summer, there are rumors that we will be on the wine trains. They are a fun time for all.
All-in-all Old Forge is beginning to wake up for the season. Two and a half hours from Rochester makes it a great getaway for the day or for the weekend. There are great restaurants and plenty of places to stay that are either family oriented or romantic getaways, OLD FORGE has it all. Prior to my position at Heron Hill, I had never visited this area and now it is probably one of my favorite places to go. If you get a chance, take a ride and discover OLD FORGE…..it is too close to home to miss.
 

Mike
 
May 19, 2010 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

The Blue Heron Café is now open!

By Mike "Ollie" Oliver, Blue Heron Café Director & Wholesale Sales Representative

With the recent opening of the Blue Heron Café, I have been splitting my time between that and Wholesaling. Of course, this falls at a time when I have many scheduled ride-alongs with our distributor’s representatives.

Between interviewing perspective servers and kitchen staff, ordering food, and trying to find what is missing, life has been a bit hectic lately. Highlighting my recent activity, I executed a staff tasting for the new Café menu. Following our staff meeting at the beginning of May, I, with the help of Mr. Brian Barry, wanted to prepare all of the menu items that we will be serving at the Café. The downside to this venture was that I made way too much food, and soon discovered that the staff was full before I was able to finish making the dishes! I guess it’s a good thing that I hadn’t made desserts too…

To follow up that week, the winery hosted TasteCamp, a regional meeting that took place in the Finger Lakes including wine writer and bloggers. I prepared a vast selection of food for lunch, from the Chicken Caesar and Calabrese Wraps to Fruit and Pasta Salads. The entire staff pitched in to make the event happen, which was greatly appreciated.

May 15th marked the first official day of the Café serving lunch for the season! We were honored to host an editor from the New York Post. It took a bit of scrambling and 11th hour work, but it went off without too many hitches. Kelsey Baker returned to serve for the grand reopening, and her efforts were well received. It is definitely early to call it, but it seems like the Cuban Panini and the Caribbean Pulled Pork Sandwich will be vying for the title of most popular dishes.

In the realm of Wholesaling, I have had some very prosperous days lately. While working with Southern Wine & Spirit reps, I have been able to place wines in new stores and restaurants. On my own, I have been making some definite headway in the local market. Look for some new wines to be served at the Switzerland Inn, The Lakeside and Sarassin’s, all on Keuka Lake!

I have had the chance to pour tastings at some amazing events lately too. Savor Syracuse was a benefit for the Food Bank of Central New York which was held at the Hotel Syracuse. The Binghamton Regency hosted a Catholic Charities fundraiser. Paws and Pairings, arranged by the owner of Bottles & Corks in Corning, was a benefit for local SPCA chapters held at CMOG. Coming up in the near future, look for Heron Hill to be featured at Slow Foods of Syracuse, GCP in Horseheads, Good Spirits in Geneseo, Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, Taste of the Nation in Ithaca and Alfred University (if you are an Alumnus!).
 

Christina Bowe
 
April 21, 2010 | Christina Bowe

On the road in Poughkeepsie

By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager

Well, Heron Hill has sent me on another adventure to the Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie to be exact. This area is full of American History. Each time I visit, I learn some new interesting facts.

Poughkeepsie is about 60 miles north of NYC. It is situated on the eastern shores of the Hudson River. To get here you must cross over at the New Paltz exit off the Route 87 (which runs between NYC and Montreal). The Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge was built in the 1930’s and was named after then Governor Roosevelt. This is the sixth largest suspension bridge in the world. I have always wanted to stop on the bridge and take pictures because it has the most amazing view. Unfortunately, my workday ran too late, and I was unable to get to the footbridge that opened last year. However, I will be making a point to do it on my next trip back. 


The Poughkeepsie Bridge (sometimes known as the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, the High Bridge, or since October 3, 2009, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park) is a steel cantilever bridge spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie, New York on the east bank and Highland, New York on the west bank. Built as a double-track railroad bridge, it was completed on January 1, 1889, and went out of service on May 8, 1974. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It was opened to the public on October 3, 2009, as a pedestrian and cyclist bridge and New York State Park. The weather was beautiful and the bridge was packed with mothers with strollers, lunch break walkers and kids riding bikes. It was awesome.

The accounts I visited today were great! I started out a Milanese Italian Restaurant. This is a family-owned restaurant, it smelled like grandma’s house. Aldo, who now runs the restaurant, was great. They will be pouring Heron Hill Semi-Sweet Riesling as a feature to see how it goes.

Our next stop was Hobnobbin Pub. Merrick and his wife Eileen were great. Pub food and a very relaxed atmosphere. It reminded me of the old television show Cheers where everyone new each other, young and old. They both liked the Dry Riesling and Chardonnay.

Babycakes, located near Vassar College, owners Susan & Jarek Wysocki were familiar with the Eclipse series. I tasted him on the whole lineup and he really liked the Eclipse White for his summer menu, as well as the Unoaked Chardonnay. You will also find the Eclipse Red on the wine menu. This funky European-style eatery offers quality, made-from-scratch food in a casual setting. We ate lunch there and it was fantastic. This is a full-service bar, and Gary mixed us up a Vinotini (1 oz vodka, 1 oz Vidal Blanc and a splash of cranberry). If you are a vodka lover, he has a wide selection of specialty vodkas, not to mention the incredible desserts. I should have eaten dessert first!

Our last stop was called CRAVE. Ed Kowalski (chef/owner) and his staff tasted thru the wines and found a spot for the Unoaked Chardonnay on their list. The menu was a “foodies” dream. The ambiance was quaint and tastefully decorated. I enjoyed my visit and the staff was amazing.

So as you see, my travels have brought me to yet another jewel in our beautiful state, full of history, excellent restaurants and more importantly, fabulous people. Thank you Poughkeepsie, you will be seeing me soon! 

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