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.

Tambi Schweizer
May 6, 2009 | Tambi Schweizer

What my personal favorites are at the winery

By Tambi Schweizer, Tasting Hall Manager

Upon your visit to Heron Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes, you will find me inside our barrel-vaulted tasting hall. Starting now and continuing into the end of November, this is where I spend most of my time. I am the Tasting Hall Manager for Heron Hill Winery. I thrive on tasting, comparing and educating myself on Heron Hill’s award-winning wines. We have so much to offer in the way of different wines!

I prefer the fuller bodied dry reds and love to drink a crisp dry white in the summer time. Some of my personal favorites are our Eclipse Red and White. They are blends that suit almost everyone. Blends are wines that are made up of a variety of two or more different grapes. I feel that they are often greater than the sum of their parts. They can be smoother and better tasting with more balance than their varietal counterparts.

I think that the best bonus for the Eclipse bottles, besides tasting great, is that they are such beautiful bottles. Being an artist myself, I am intrigued by the way the consumers are so attracted to the bottles. I love watching the faces at the tasting bar as I present the Eclipse series. I have never seen so many faces light up, especially when I tell them that our retail store has Eclipse bottle oil decanters available to take home!!

I am very excited about the Riesling tasting flight that we are offering here at the winery for May is Riesling Month. You can try 6 Rieslings for only $5 per person. My favorite Riesling is the Old Vines Riesling. It is a must for the hot summer months that are soon to come (…hopefully!). I love to drink it when I am sitting on the dock at my grandparent’s cottage here on Keuka Lake. Pairing it with a crisp vinaigrette salad topped with grilled chicken is my absolute favorite. Just a note: We are currently on the last of the 2005 vintage of the Old Vines Riesling Reserve, but I have tasted the 2007 vintage and it is just as good…and maybe better even though it is a little younger.

Don’t forget to come and visit me at the winery, we are always here to answer all your questions. The laid back style of wine tasting that we offer here makes your tasting fun and relaxing. Remember my motto, “There are no dumb questions!”

Steve & Pam Acker
April 8, 2009 | Steve & Pam Acker

Greetings from the Heron Hill Tasting Room on Seneca Lake

By Steve & Pam Acker, Managers at the Seneca Lake Tasting Room

Greetings from the Heron Hill Tasting Room on Seneca Lake! Spring has finally sprung and this is the beginning of our fourth season as the “satellite” tasting room from Heron Hill Winery. In the spring of 2006 we decided to un-retire and learn about an industry and product we both enjoy…wine. Our career with Heron Hill began with training as pourers and retail staff and soon we were hooked. Somehow our part-time just for fun, get out of the house hobby evolved into a joint managership of the new location on Seneca Lake. We had worked together in our own business outside of Philadelphia for 30 years so we guess the progression was inevitable though not anticipated.

Our customer base continues to grow along with our enthusiasm and respect for this company and its products. The ongoing commitment of our owners, John and Josephine Ingle, the sustainability practices as well as the continuing effort of our team here on Seneca to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible made us “green” before it became a common phrase. We feel lucky to have found such a good fit as it is how we live as well. The skill of Thomas Laszlo, our winemaker, speaks for itself through our award-winning, elegant wines.

We have met so many interesting and wonderful people from all over the world and just around the corner. Wine tasting is truly a unique and pleasurable experience that brings people together. You can witness this on any given day in the tasting room. Pam even has an e-pal from South Africa who happened in one day as he toured the region. We have guests who return regularly, whether to honor a birthday or anniversary or other special occasion to celebrate with us. They started as new guests and have returned to become friends. There is rarely a dull day as you never know who will walk through the door. We both love a challenge and know there is so much more to learn. So for now this is where we want to be and are very much enjoying our time here. Our dedicated, knowledgeable, and fun staff including; Barb, Ashley, Nancy, Brandon, Dick and Carrie, are ready to help you. So stop by, say hello and taste some wonderful wines. We look forward to meeting you and hope to add you to our list of new friends.

Christina Bowe
March 18, 2009 | Christina Bowe

On the road and miles to go before I sleep

By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager

One of my favorite poets since I was in high school was Robert Frost, and my favorite poem was “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Little did I know at that time, my career would take me to my favorite verse.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP, And MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP.”

My life with Heron Hill began many years ago, more than I want to admit too. I never realized how huge NY State really is and how beautiful and diverse it was until 2006, when I began my current position as Wholesale Sales Manager, (aka, road warrior) representing the Heron Hill throughout the State.

When I first began in the early 1990’s, you would be astonished at how many people I came in contact with, that did not know where the Finger Lakes were let alone that it was producing amazing wine.

Times have changed in the past few years. The Finger Lakes wine region now has over 11,000 acres of wine growing grape and is the largest wine region in NY State. The wines coming out of the region are of excellent quality and receiving accolades from all over the world. People are actually seeking this excellent wine, which has made my job easier.

Recently, the sustainable living has become a conscious way of life, and with our owners John and Josephine Ingle’s life-long commitment to sustainable farming, paired with Thomas Laszlo’s superb cool-climate winemaking skills; this has made our Ingle Vineyard Series a sought after product. In these economic times, “buying local and eating local” is a slogan of many customers as well as consumers. More and more restaurants are popping up throughout the State creating sustainable local economies with a strong connection between farm and table.

As I travel this beautiful State representing one of the premier wineries in the Finger Lakes Region, I am thankful for the beauty of our State, the commitment Heron Hill has for quality, and the wonderful customers I meet in every corner from Jamestown to Lake Placid.

John Ingle
March 3, 2009 | John Ingle

The trials and tribulations of making maple syrup in March

It’s early March and Mother Nature is gradually loosening her icy grip over the long frozen lakes of western NY. It’s been a “real” winter with close to 100 inches of snow, 6 weeks of snow cover, lows near -10 and steady single digit temps. This cold weather makes you want to read some Robert Frost.

The first glimmer of spring is the 40 degree days that bring the thought of rising sap in the sugar bush trees. It’s the first chapter in the annual yearbook that we call our maple syrup “vintage”. The question is; will it be early, late, short or bountiful? Only time will tell but I do feel the rhythms of the season and do respond to that call. We don’t need to produce a lot of maple syrup, but plus or minus 10 gallons in the cupboard keeps our friends and grandchildren smiling.

In the course of producing a batch of maple syrup there are many hurdles to jump along the way. After all the trials of reducing maple sap from 40 gallons to 1 gallon of syrup, it’s very satisfying to just “get it in the jar”. This weekend I was finishing off a sweet batch of syrup. It was on the stove, boiling down from 150 gallons to about 4 gallons while I was finishing up the sports page in the other room. In the background I heard a noise like a waterfall – what’s that? The syrups boiling over! I leaped and ran in panic to the kitchen– the syrup was flowing all over the electric stovetop! I pulled it off the burner but there was smoke everywhere, filling the kitchen. The room filled as I opened windows to 20 degrees of cold weather to try and clear the smoke and stop the wailing smoke alarm. Fortunately there was only a little syrup lost and a little damage done but we’ve had a sticky floor and counter for a couple days.

I know this has little to do with the wine and grapes on our Heron Hill Winery blog, but people do ask – “what do you do all winter?” The answer is, prune vines then make some maple syrup. It will be an interesting year…

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