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.

Steve & Pam Acker
 
June 24, 2010 | Steve & Pam Acker

Welcome Summer!

By Steve & Pam Acker, Managers at the Seneca Lake Tasting Room
One of the things that keeps a career (and life in general) interesting, is change. With the beginning of the summer season upon us some changes have come to the tasting room at Heron Hill on Seneca. We have said goodbye to some talented and interesting staff who have moved on to their next challenges and at the same time we are welcoming new members to the Seneca team. Just as when we say goodbye to a special old vintage there is a slight sadness but then that is replaced by the anticipation of new things to come! With varied history and backgrounds there are new dynamics and ideas to share. Be assured that you will continue to find a well trained group ready to assist you in all your wine needs.

 

It has been a pleasure working with Kara and Paul from the Keuka location to introduce some exciting new items and terrific food items, many from local suppliers, to the retail shop.

Weather permitting we will again this summer be able to offer tastings on the patio at our outside bar. A lovely spot to sample some summer favorites such as the Heron Hill Classic Chardonnay 2008 or any one of the delicious Rieslings. Additionally, we will provide some great recipes to help you get the party started and keep it going. White wine summer sangria is featured and if you haven’t tried it yet now is the time. There are also some summer dishes(vegetable risotto!) you’ll want to try so come in and pick up a copy. This group loves food almost as much as it loves wine!

As we begin our fifth season on Seneca we invite you to stop by, have a taste, and say hello to some old friends here on Seneca and quite possibly you will leave having made some new ones as well.


WHITE WINE SUMMER SANGRIA

Ingredients:

3 bottles Heron Hill Semi-Sweet Riesling 2008 or Game Bird Blush

1 litre bottle lemon-lime seltzer

¾ cup orange liquor (optional)

¾ cup orange juice

Cranberry juice

1 each - lemon, lime, orange thinly sliced


Directions:

Freeze cranberry juice in two ice cube trays several hours before serving

Keep all other ingredients well chilled

In a large pitcher or punch bowl combine wine, liqueur, and orange juice. Add sliced fruit and let mixture sit a few minutes to combine flavors. When ready to serve, add the cranberry ice cubes and seltzer.

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.
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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.
 

Bernard Cannac
 
June 8, 2010 | Bernard Cannac

Planting the new vineyard in front of the winery

By Bernard Cannac, Winemaker

This spring has been quite interesting so far: the latest spring frost was in mid-May, and from there the weather has been quite hot and humid.

Two weeks ago, we planted over seven acres of vines. The new planting took place mainly in front of the winery. We planted about five acres of Riesling including different clones. The diversity of the clones will bring more complexity to the wines in the future. We also planted about one acre of Muscat and one acre of Vidal Blanc, hopefully to make Icewines and Late Harvests, depending on the weather conditions.

Last fall we took some soil samples to get a soil analysis and added some lime, which was worked into the soil. In the spring, we added some natural fertilizers, which was also worked into the soil. It created a flat and smooth layer of soil for the laser planter.

 

We had a team of professionals come with a laser planter to make sure that the rows were at the right spacing and that the vines were planted evenly. This equipment belongs to the Hosmer Family and their partner. On the video, you can see how the planter operates. The team first makes a survey of the field, then puts markers on the field. It looks like lines of little flags with different colors. A laser beam then goes between two tripods and the photocell on the planter runs along the beam. The tractor driver has to keep the planter in line the whole time, looking at three lights: green means right in line, orange means slightly off line but acceptable and red means that the planter lost the beam. The team makes it look easy, but it takes a lot of skills to keep the ensemble in perfect alignment with an invisible laser beam. As you can see on the video, two persons feed the machine with plants, and Zac, our Vineyard Manager was walking behind the procession to make sure no vine was missing. We took turns for three days, walking in a dust cloud under the blazing sun. I have the sunburn to remind me about that weekend. It was Memorial Day weekend, and it was memorable.

For us, it has been a lot of work to get the soil ready for the planting, and now there will be a lot of work ahead of us: each vine has to have a pencil rod, so the young shoots can be lifted off the ground, we have to put the posts in the ground, then run at least one wire this season to clip the pencil rods on this lower wire.

So far the weather has been giving us enough rain, but we might have to water the plants individually in the next few days, if it doesn’t rain.

But it is a very exciting time for us, because all this work is for the foundation of a vineyard that will be there for a few decades. Once a vineyard is planted, it is very hard to change its characteristics. So we hope we did the right things and made the right decisions, because this vineyard is here to stay. It is up to us now to take good care of it, so we can get the best grapes it can produce, so we can make the best wines, for the delight of all of us.

Even though we have been busy at the vineyard, Brian has managed to get most of the wines ready for bottling. We actually bottled the 2007 Heron Hill Cabernet Franc last week. The wine is recovering from the bottling (bottle shock). It should be released in a couple of weeks. It is a solid wine, with a lot of fresh berry on the nose. It has a big body and will age beautifully. We also blended a Reserve Cabernet Franc, which will be bottled sometime in the summer.

In spring and summer, we always have something to do, inside or outside! Santé!

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