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.

John Ingle
 
September 29, 2011 | John Ingle

What made me go into the wine business?

I often get asked "What made me go into the wine business?" Well, nothing made me, I chose to, willingly and enthusiastically. And it's funny because I can almost remember making the decision to do so. I was an English teacher in Colorado and felt there must be more for me. I had been curious about organic gardening and read books about the "farm life".

It was exactly forty years ago, in 1971, that we, my wife, Joey, and I worked in a neighbor's vineyard picking Concord grapes. As I stood on that sun drenched hillside breathing in the smells of fresh air and ripe grapes I realized this was satisfying to me. The rhythm of the work, steady and focused, the rhyme of the workers, chatting and laughing as they worked their way up and down the rows and the thought that it's vintage time! People all over the world, Europe, Australia, America, literally everywhere, were doing the same thing, harvesting grapes, to make wine. A sacramental beverage, as old as history, alive and dynamic in so many cultures and lands, it was inspirational to me. I knew that I had found my path and my loving wife has walked by my side for forty years, pursuing a career but more so, a life and lifestyle of living a "farm life".

Tambi Schweizer
 
September 22, 2011 | Tambi Schweizer

Fall is here, along with that comes harvest!

Ahhhh…September! Harvest is here and you know what that means; it’s the start of the really crazy-busy season! We kicked September off with a jammed packed weekend with Labor Day and “oh boy” did we labor hard at the winery! We had live music by Bruce Holler on Sunday afternoon, unfortunately I was pouring so much wine in the tasting hall that I never got a chance to get out there to even say hello.




The following weekend on the 10th, I had Saturday off because I went to the 2011 Palettes of Keuka auction! The Palettes of Keuka has inspired upwards of 40 artists each year to create artwork on giant size artist palettes. This event has offers wonderful opportunities to provide funding for numerous art related activities and scholarships. Each year the committee directs thousands of dollars in funding towards the support of the arts in our area. In four short years they have created a Keuka Lake tradition with the grand finale auction held in the village square in Hammondsport. I ended up buying two palettes, one called “Wine, Wonderful, Wine” by Lenolee Spraker and “Pants in the Park” by Andy Clark. I got great deals on both; in total I spent only $170.00! As the auction was winding down, with only a few palettes to go, the auctioneers Steve Muller and Ken Corey, posed a challenge to the audience. As you can see by the picture there are many corks that make-up the border in my palette, the auctioneers asked if anyone could guess the total number that I used to make it with! After many crazy guesses (346, 824, 600, 572) someone shouted out 200… seeing that I had used 185 ½ corks - they were the winner. I had told Steve and Ken that I would donate a bottle of wine of the winner’s choice!

This past weekend was our Harvest Tour of Food and Wine on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. What a great weekend, I was the greeting committee and check-in person serving the wine and food with Linda on Saturday and Helen on Sunday. It was a great weekend to be in the tent in our parking lot, as the seaplanes were in town and we got to watch them go around the lake at 1:00 on Saturday….very Cool!!! At the trail check-in table we were serving a Butternut Squash, Potato & Sausage Gratin paired with their choice of our Classic Pinot Noir 2008 or our Classic Dry Riesling 2009. Both worked exceptionally well with the rich and creamy gratin.

So far September has proven to be a great success; let’s hope with our first Tunes in the Tent this coming Sunday it continues! I can’t wait to see the “Crosseyed Cats” perform starting at 12:30 on Sunday! Hope to see everybody here for Harvest!

Time Posted: Sep 22, 2011 at 11:40 AM
Mike
 
September 14, 2011 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

Gearing up for fall at the Blue Heron Cafe

The summer to date has been great at the Blue Heron Café! We have seen crowds comparable to last year, but recent tweaks like linen napkins, proper water glasses, and some higher-class features have really impressed the customers. From Crab Napoleons to Roasted Red Pepper Involtinis, a greater variety of dishes have been well received.

We have hosted a bunch of groups this summer. I attribute this to our Marketing Guru, Kitty, who pressed me very early in the year for my menu. With the additional exposure in the pre-season months, we have easily doubled our groups from last year. To highlight these events, in August we hosted a group from Keuka College for a five course Tapas and Tastings. Thrown into this, we fed the vendors for the Wedding Show and have a couple of corporate events for later in the season. Don’t forget to check out the music lineup for Tunes in the Tent, which kicks off with the Crosseyed Cats on September 25th!

Recently, we reduced our hours to Friday through Monday, as the weekday crowd tends to be a bit lighter. The mid-week break is appreciated, as the weekend crowds have been impressive. This has allowed me to offer a bit of time to the Wholesale department. At the end of the month, Lakeside Restaurant will be showcasing us for a Wine Dinner. Beef & Brew in Geneva has also selected us as their Winery of the Month.

Kara Smith
 
September 1, 2011 | Kara Smith

Come on Irene, we have a Wedding Show to put on!

Check out my online gallery from the 2011 Wedding Show!

Oh Hurricane Irene! The 1st inaugural Wedding Show at Heron Hill was a success! Waking up Sunday morning to what was not supposed to be a dreary windy day, put challenge to our wedding show. As I arrived at Heron Hill, I had in mind just how I would conquer hurricane Irene! Thanks to my staff, volunteers and patience, we did it!

Thirty-two of our thirty-four exhibitors braved the winds and prepared their booths for the show. Thank you to Crystal City Party Center, Finger Lakes Entertainment and Pembrook Pines Media Group for all the extra help and donations. The show would have not been possible without you!

We had exhibitors arrive from all over. Anne from The Topiary came with many of her wonderful floral designs. Heather from McKay’s Photography took a different angle and made her booth into its own, displaying many of her wonderful photos. Owen Entertainment joined us for their first show as well, it was excellent to learn about the new services they have to offer.

We had ten giveaways that each of the participating brides were entered for. Luxury Limo gave away a $50 gift certificate. Becky from Berry Vine Creations donated a “bag” of goodies including $200 off a floral package. Inteva Travel gave away a gift certificate to one lucky bride. These are just a few of the great prizes we had.

One lucky bride received the grand prize of $500 off a reception at Heron Hill Winery. Ten of my brides for the upcoming 2012 season were here, so it was a battle! As I drew the winning name, I looked over at my bride. She had won, but she thought I was joking with her. As our DJ, Jason, said her name, she and her fiancé got super excited. Congratulations to Jessica and Bill!

We will be hosting the show again next year. Thank you to everyone for attending and making our first year outstanding! We could not have done it without the help of all of our wonderful exhibitors. I am hoping for sunny weather next year ☺

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