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.

Kara Smith
 
January 26, 2011 | Kara Smith

WellWed Wedding Affair

It is certainly a quiet time of year here at Heron Hill Winery. I spend most of January preparing for inventory, contacting possible brides and cleaning endless amounts of wedding chairs.

While preparing for the upcoming season, during this “slow time” I have been able to do several wine tastings and talk with some of our nice customers. I have also attended several bridal shows over the course of the last two months.

The most recent bridal show I attended was the 2nd Annual Finger Lakes Wedding Affair at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. What a beautiful show. WellWed hosted it and did a fabulous job of bringing together all of the wedding professionals of the Finger Lakes Region. The theme this year was carnival. Everything was decorated as though the brides had just walked into a carnival. The Well Wed staff thought of everything from candied apples to cotton candy martini’s.

I was able to sneak away from the booth to speak with several of the other wedding professionals and see their work. The Topiary out of Pittsford, NY had several gorgeous displays. They had a table display as well as a bridal bouquet sample. I also spent time getting to know the ladies, and I am excited to work with them in the near future.

As I was walking around, I made a point to try some of the sweet treats from Gourmet Goodies of Victor, NY. I have never been disappointed by what they create. I specifically sampled their red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese center and the chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter center. Delicious!

I also stopped to try the paella that All Occasions Catering of Rochester, NY prepared as samples. This was my first time trying their cuisine, and I must say it was yummy.

Throughout the show, music was provided by a few of our favorite guys, Nate and Jason of Fingerlakes Entertainment. They also provided all the music for the couture fashion show. I am looking forward to working with them this upcoming season.

All in all this was a great show. I am ready for wedding season to arrive! I have many wonderful couples I am working with this year. On a side now, this week marks my 1 year anniversary at Heron Hill Winery! What a wonderful first year!

Time Posted: Jan 26, 2011 at 7:48 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.

Bernard Cannac
 
January 4, 2011 | Bernard Cannac

What wines at Heron Hill Winery are gluten free?

First of all, I would like to cease this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year 2011! May this New Year be full of health and happiness!

After spending Christmas down on Long Island, under over a foot of snow, I got to spend the New Year Celebration with a few friends in a barn surrounded by vineyards just a slingshot away from Keuka Lake. Deep fried Turkey and Mulled wine paired very well together…

Now, the vines are dormant, and Zac and Ethan are running wires for the new planting we did last spring. They also managed to do some cleaning and burning some piles of brush: pretty high flames! It is supposed to be a cold winter, so we will wait until February to get started on the pruning, to be done by early April, before bud break.

In the cellar, we are monitoring a couple of fermentations about to end. I personally like slow fermentations on white wines to preserve the fruity aromas that developed during the fermentation. If the temperature rises too much, these aromas tend to dissipate. On the contrary, the red wines need higher temperature during fermentation in order to extract the tannins trapped in the skin and seeds. I like to ferment the white wines at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the reds can reach temperatures of over 90 degrees at the peak of the fermentation. Right now, the reds have all completed the primary fermentation (or alcoholic fermentation) and are now undergoing the secondary fermentation, also called Malo-Lactic Fermentation (MLF), which is the transformation of Malic Acid, naturally found in grapes and apples, into Lactic Acid, which is a softer acid. The MLF helps the mouth feel tremendously on the red wines. For the white wines, this process is not a necessity. Most winemakers prefer to keep the natural acidity in the white wines to preserve their freshness. At Heron Hill Winery, all the reds undergo MLF, but none of the whites do.

We recently received a question about gluten in wine. From the top of my head I couldn’t think of any additive used in winemaking that could contain gluten. Gluten is a big “storage molecule” (like starch) found mainly in wheat and wheat products, like pasta and bread.

At Heron Hill Winery, we only use a few additives, preferring to assist Nature instead of manipulating the wines too much. I checked the composition of the yeast nutrients we use to help the yeast during the fermentation, and there is no gluten in it, which makes sense because as I said gluten, like starch, is a big molecule that needs to be broken down into smaller pieces in order to be ingested by yeasts. Yeast nutrients contain small proteins and vitamins so the yeast can use the nutrients quickly and efficiently.

Close to bottling, we use some fining agent to clarify and stabilize the white wines. Again, there is no gluten in it. Furthermore, the fining agent is a big molecule (clay and/or protein), which reacts to the proteins in suspension in the wine, and once attached to each other and they precipitate to the bottom of the tank. Later, the wine is racked and filtered so these agglomerates are taken out of the wine.

So, to my knowledge, there is no gluten in our wines at Heron Hill Winery. Hope this answers our reader’s question!

Cheers!
 

Time Posted: Jan 4, 2011 at 10:52 AM
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