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.

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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