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Christina Bowe
 
March 17, 2011 | Christina Bowe

Eat Local, Drink Local with Wine Dinners

Heron Hill has been fortunate to be involved in wine dinners over the past two months. Winemaker dinners are always a great way for Heron Hill to showcase our wines and the chefs get to go “out of the box” and create something extra special for their wine loving guests.

As many of you know, we have a unique set of wines including the Ingle Vineyard series, which is grown on Canandaigua Lake. These single-vineyard, local wines make a wonderful addition to a gourmet meal prepared with local products. Each one of these dinners was different and I thought it might be fun to highlight them in the blog. I am sad to say, I got so caught up in the events that I did not snap a picture of any of these dishes, which were masterpieces.

Ristorante Lucano, 1815 East Avenue, Rochester, NY

(www.ristorantelucano.com). A wine dinner with a twist “New York Meets Italy” was the theme of the dinner. Owners, Chuck and JoAnn Formosa were our gracious hosts for the evening. Chef Kevin prepared all the dishes made of locally grown food and produce including a Lively Run Farms Goat Cheese, homemade Gnocchi and Bison Strip Steak that melted in your mouth.

Lucano is a hidden jewel on East Avenue, if you’re looking for a great southern Italian meal; fabulous wait staff and a cozy atmosphere stop by and visit Chuck and JoAnn.

Rabbit Room, 61 North Main Street, Honeoye Falls, NY

(www.thelowermill.com). The Rabbit Room, about 10 miles south of Rochester is a beautiful venue for dining. The Lower Mill in Honeoye Falls, New York was a grist mill built on the banks of Honeoye Creek by Hiram Finch in 1827. The Gallery steps go through the restaurant and onto the second floor. Andrew Penner and his wife Alison DeMarco have put together American cuisine with a new modern twist. They accredit their success to the local farmers and his dedicated staff.

Once again, our meal was prepared with a “local” theme. Chris Januzzi, our chef for the evening prepared and incredible dinner that was paired perfectly with our Ingle Vineyard wines. Seven Bridges Farm Pork Tenderloin and Braised Short Rib topped the list, with locally grown mushroom with organic chicken thigh.

Even though our winemaker, Bernard could not make it up from Hammondsport because of a snowstorm, which landed him in a ditch, (Bernard was safe) we all had a wonderful time with great food and great wine. Their hours are limited, but worth the trip to Honeoye Falls. I would also consider this venue for a unique special event, which is one of their specialties. They also have events on a regular basis. Check out the Rabbit Room’s website.


Good Luck, 50 Anderson Avenue, Rochester, New York

(www.restaurantgoodluck.com). If you have not been to Good Luck, it is an experience that must not be missed. Dan Martello, chef/owner, prepared an amazing tasting dinner for 20 people at a cozy corner of the warehouse space. You get a real NY feel when you enter this restaurant. Good Luck is a fine dining restaurant located in the old Fabrics & Findings, offering a seasonal menu using local produce, meats and cheeses. Meals are served family-style. They are only opened Wednesday through Saturday, but they also serve a late menu until 2:00 am.

Once again, this meal was amazing. Crispy Finger Lakes pork belly, Lively Run Goat Cheese and Hudson Valley duck breast were some of the offerings, paired carefully with Ingle Vineyard. Chef Dan did something unique; in that each sauce for each dish was prepared with Ingle Vineyard, which made is particularly special. The entire group had a wonderful time, and we are looking forward to teaming up with Chef Dan soon.

If you are in the Rochester area, stop in to any one of these places and enjoy a unique dining experience.

Time Posted: Mar 17, 2011 at 11:58 AM Permalink to Eat Local, Drink Local with Wine Dinners Permalink Comments for Eat Local, Drink Local with Wine Dinners Comments (1)
John Ingle
 
March 4, 2011 | John Ingle

Pruning vines, making maple syrup and cleaning bluebird houses

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "What do you do all winter when the vines are dormant?" I can assure you, it isn't nothing. I was a youth hockey couch for 20 years in addition to working 20 acres of vineyard. We raised four kids and I was there every day to greet them off the school bus, top priority. But the constant activity through that time is the "bushwacking" of some 12,000 vines each winter for the last 40 (!) years. Simple math gives an idea of the measure of the task. I can prune 150 +/- vines a day on a good day - divide that into the 12,000 vines I've always had (until adding the 1,000 vines each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon last spring, that is 80 work days, or 14 work weeks. We finish the harvest in November, or early December when we make Icewines, then we cover the bases of the vines, called "hilling up", into December. Take out holidays, snow days, assorted projects and distractions and it's a busy winter. April 1st is our "done" date for pruning, the start of the vintage season. I will blog on that process later.

As the winter work wraps up, temperatures climb and it's time to make maple syrup. We get 5 to 10 gallons of syrup off about 60 taps. We used to burn the sap down with grape trunks. I thought I might be the only guy to do that - in the world! Another spring tradition here is cleaning the bluebird houses. Migratory as well as resident bluebirds like to pair off and prepare for nesting in March, so the houses, (we have about 50 of them) need to be clean and ready for April 1st.

Doing these and other side projects every year gets you into a pace, a rhythm, of nature and life. It can be hectic but it also brings a simple continuity that makes farm life satisfying. Soon it will be spring.

Time Posted: Mar 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM Permalink to Pruning vines, making maple syrup and cleaning bluebird houses Permalink Comments for Pruning vines, making maple syrup and cleaning bluebird houses Comments (3)
Tambi Schweizer
 
February 23, 2011 | Tambi Schweizer

Ice Fishing with Riesling

After everything Mother Nature has dealt us so far this season, from lots of snowfall (for most of the season) to a big melt last week to another snowfall a few days ago, I have been able to take full advantage of this beautiful winter. I know not everybody loves this weather, but there is so much to do outside and this snow won’t be around very long. I have been lucky enough to be given a fishing shanty (Thanks Stime!), even though it had a few holes in, it works perfectly with a little Gorilla tape holding it together. We went out ice fishing last week and just when I thought I was going to be skunked, I stood up took a drink of my favorite wine the Old Vines Riesling Reserve and PRESTO….I had a blue gill on my line! So exciting! I think the smell of the Riesling was probably what drew all the fish in. After having the “boys” filet all the fish we sat down for an amazing Perch and Blue Gill dinner with rice, homemade dinner rolls and of course more Riesling.

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the winter is to go snowmobiling. It is such a great way to take in the scenery and get to explore the countryside. The Bath Snow-Flakes Snowmobiling Club does an amazing job of keeping the trails groomed and smooth. It is such an exhilarating experience and the most exciting sport there is to do in the winter, especially with lots of great friends. It is a perfect thing for the whole family to do and is usually a mini-vacation for me. A great time for me to think while having fun…..

Another activity that I find enjoyable to watch (NOT participate in…!) is the Polar Bear plunge that is going to be taking place at the Switzerland Inn here on Keuka lake. It is going to be held on March 26th this year. I have been several times and always enjoy watching the “crazies” jump into 32-34 degree water! The jumpers usually dress up in costumes and if I am remembering correctly I think they give out many different awards for costume design, best jump and different things!

On our slow snowy days at the winery we even try out our front hill for some sledding! I am going to try to get my snowmobile up here to the winery so that I can even help out the vineyards guys…they are sick of trudging through the deep snow in the vineyard!

Well, here’s to praying for more snow so that I can continue to snowmobile, ice fish and maybe even enjoy some more sledding!

Time Posted: Feb 23, 2011 at 5:13 AM Permalink to Ice Fishing with Riesling Permalink Comments for Ice Fishing with Riesling Comments (2)
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 Permalink to Welcome baby Morgan! Permalink Comments for Welcome baby Morgan! Comments (1)
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 Permalink to WellWed Wedding Affair Permalink Comments for WellWed Wedding Affair Comments (1)
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 Permalink to What wines at Heron Hill Winery are gluten free? Permalink Comments for What wines at Heron Hill Winery are gluten free? Comments (2)
 
December 21, 2010 |

Working on the Ingle Vineyard harvest

Hello, I’m Josie Holden, the daughter of owner John Ingle. This fall, I was apart of the 2010 Harvest at Ingle Vineyard. It was a great experience and we think this will be a great year for wine, especially the reds. I always enjoy the harvest time and being a part of the family business. It always makes me proud to know that my parents started this from the ground up. I have been working for the family business for a couple years in retail and providing wine tastings. We have opened a new wine tasting room on Canandaigua Lake, on the wine trail. I had the opportunity to work there during the summer and fall season. We had a slow turn out at first, but once word of mouth got around, people visited and enjoyed their experience. I am looking forward to what lies ahead for next season.

During the 2010 Harvest I got to do something new this year. I helped pick some Botrytis grapes, also known as “Noble Rot” for the first time, which are Riesling grapes. I learned something new, which is that this can happen if all the conditions are right, as my father, wrote about in his blog. When we were all picking the grapes, everyone had their own bucket and we were only allowed to pick the really moldy and brown grapes. My father called this “selective picking”. Botrytis grapes can be made into a dessert wine. When a Riesling grape has Botrytis it makes the grapes sweeter and higher in sugar content. That is why these grapes are perfect for making a sweet wine.

Every year is different and I look forward to all the exciting times that lay ahead for our vineyards!

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2010 at 8:23 AM Permalink to Working on the Ingle Vineyard harvest Permalink Comments for Working on the Ingle Vineyard harvest Comments (2)
John Ingle
 
December 13, 2010 | John Ingle

John & Jo Ingle's 2010 harvest notes

By John Ingle, Owner/Grapegrower

As always, harvest 2010 has been a wild ride. Fueled by one of the hottest, and wettest years ever, grapes ripened a month early! We were almost guaranteed a great year, it was just a matter of how far we could push our luck for further excellence. Having my wife, daughter, son-in-law and many friends help with the grape picking made it even more of a labor of love. We shared the rhythms of the harvest; hurrying, waiting, wet, dry, cold, tired, excited all mixed together and multiplied by 12 or 15 of how many pickers we had day to day.
 

As the season progressed we brought in wave after wave of beautiful, ripe grapes - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, all up to 26 Brix, incredible! As the Riesling ripened we got 6 days of warm monsoon-type rain and glorious green prapes turned nut brown almost overnite. It was rot! Closer inspection revealed a sweet raisening aroma and flavor...it was "Noble Rot", botrytis, Mother Nature's gift to dessert-wine lovers. The crew tightened their belts and made four different "passes" through the two acre vineyard much of the time on hands and knees picking up fallen grapes off the ground and never a peep or ugh or yuck! It was a team effort rewarded with a "piece of history". The 2010 Ingle Vineyard Bunch Select Riesling will carry memories of effort and excellence - to be shared with joy with friends and family for many years.

By Jo Ingle, Owner/Grapegrower

Our garden has been put to bed after yet another bountiful season. There is still much to do!

All through the summer months the ripened vegetables are harvested, sorted, cleaned, cut and prepared for freezing. This year has been particularly good. The long hot summer days with a bit of rain here and there, helped to make for an abundant crop of vegetables and fruits. We grow everything! Spinach, peas, beans, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, corn, melons, squashes, artichokes and more. You name it, we grow it. In addition to the produce going into the freezer, we also can spaghetti sauce, bread and butter pickles from an old family recipe, and beautiful pink applesauce made especially for the grandchildren.

Winter is here. The days are short and cold. The kitchen is filled with the aroma of jellies cooking and hot paraffin melting. The freezer is full, the cupboards are packed, and we're ready to hunker down and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Tambi Schweizer
 
December 1, 2010 | Tambi Schweizer

Who's who at the winery on Keuka Lake

Here at Heron Hill, I feel very blessed to have the best staff in the whole world! Their dedication to the Winery continues to blow me away. The tasting hall staff is usually first here and the last to leave. I am so thankful that they spend each and EVERY weekend with me! I want to send out a VERY heartfelt thank you to each and every one of them, they are the ones who make my job SO much easier.

My devoted staff works so hard, especially from May to November, our busiest months. We see hundreds and hundreds of people on any given weekend, and even after an exhausting day/week/weekend they are still smiling!

The two staff members who have been here the longest are Audrey and Dave. These two taught me a lot about wine, customers and a few (secret) tricks that I still use to this day. Audrey, or “Odd-rey”, as we call her, is the one who always has great bright red lipstick and is generally begging me to work. I think she would rather be here working with the customer than working on her HUGE house that she is re-modeling. We always joke that Dave has been working here since he was 2 years old, he started as support crew for the events tent and has done just about every job possible here! When he turned 21, I was finally able to have him at the tasting bar. He is so great with the customers; it is always an extremely informative tasting.

Karyn and Jen both started this season and are transplants to the area. Jen fell in love with Keuka Lake and decided to move up here full time, leaving here Biology students back in NJ. I am sure they miss her terribly!!! Jen is soft-spoken and very passionate about the Finger Lakes and especially her favorite Lake, Keuka. Karyn lived in Seattle for a long time and just recently re-located back to the area to come help her elderly mom. When Karyn walked in to the winery, my manager Paul and I basically loved her from the first moment and hired her on the spot. Karyn is very energetic and so much fun.

Anne is one taster who has an incredible amount of wine knowledge; I really enjoy learning from her and her wine writer husband also. Almost every customer that Anne waits on is always amazed by the vast amount of information that she can fit into a tasting. Anne lives here locally on the lake and really enjoys gardening. Love her great hints!

Kelsey and Danielle are the local girls! Kelsey is studying to be Occupational Therapist in Ithaca, and is great about coming home EVERY weekend to work at the winery, at times even bringing here adorable dog Latte to come play at the winery with us! Kelsey is so sweet, always keeping us entertained with great “Dave” (see Dave above) stories. Danielle is our fiery redhead, who is usually setting us straight and trying to keep us in line! Danielle works both at the tasting bar and in retail, so you have a variety of places to catch her. She started back to college in January, after giving us notice that she was going back to school to be a pharmacist. She had been our event/wedding coordinator for 1 ½ years prior.

For the last Keuka Lake wine trail event, Keuka Holidays, we had a special guest appearance by Ted! He used to work here every weekend last September & October, coming up just for the weekend to work at the tasting bar! Another red-head, he has a full time job as an assistant manager at a bowling center in Lock Haven, PA. When he was up this past time, he even worked on his birthday! As the best Tasting Hall Manager, I even made him his favorite; an Oreo cheesecake.

Even though Jill & Linda don’t work in the tasting hall, I have to give them a shout out. They work in the gift shop on weekends whenever I need them. Jill and her new husband Damin are awesome, they help us whenever I ask (which is usually a lot…sorry guys!!!). Damin helps with the support, washing glass racks, stocking the tasting hall and even jumping on the tasting bar whenever I need him. Jill is great in the gift shop, having the patience of a saint. Jill and Damin even got married here this summer, what a beautiful wedding. I was so glad to be a part of it! Linda works full time as a cashier at a local bank, so she is a perfect fit for working the register here at the winery. Linda always brings us great snacks, a great way to keep up the energy since we never get a lunch break!!!

I can’t forget Paul and Kara, my two closest work partners! Paul is the Retail manager, aka our numbers guy. He is always giving us the goal and letting us know how close we are or are not. Paul & his wife Gail started helping out at the winery over 10 years ago during the busy weekends. Just a few years ago he left a very high stress job to come work at the winery. He is always cracking jokes and keeping our spirits up! Kara started back in January, taking over Danielle’s spot as event/wedding coordinator. Kara and her new husband Eli work every wedding together and also sell Eli’s glass in our gift shop. Kara and Eli also get married here at the winery in September and of course left us for 2 weeks during the busiest time (….grrrrr).

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The whole staff makes it such a great place to work!

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