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 26, 2010 | Tambi Schweizer

Hosting TasteCamp then off to NYC!

By Tambi Schweizer, Tasting Hall Manager

Wow, things have been really great lately. First, we hosted about 40 wine writers and bloggers here at Heron Hill for TasteCamp…needless to say they all seemed amazed at the spread we put out for them. Thank to Ollie for some great food, courtesy of the Blue Heron Café. At our tasting bar, we hosted 8 local wineries from Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes for them, with everyone really showcasing some magnificent wines! I think the winner from the Heron Hill wine collection was the Library wine re-release of the 2002 Ingle Vineyard Riesling. The white peach and mineral qualities that are showing through are just exquisite! This ’02 vintage has been a favorite of mine since I have been here!

I just got back from NYC where I poured wine at Taste of the Upper West Side. The Friday night event was from 9 to midnight (…ugh, I am usually in bed at 9 pm!) featuring a divine dessert tasting! I have to give a shout out to the NYC Greenmarket! One of the ladies gave Doug and I a whole basket of fresh juicy strawberries and a large cup of whip cream! They were delicious, thank you! I saw my friends from the Hot Blondie’s Bakery again; yes the brownies are still some of my favorites! Here’s a picture of the Greenmarket staff shucking oysters.

On Saturday night, The Taste of the Upper West Side featured the Best of the West with some of the same vendors from the Friday night event, but with also a few really great additions, like the Long Island Wine Country booth. I tried some really great wines, making me think that I NEED to get to Long Island to go wine tasting. I think that trip will have to wait until the busy season is over here!

Well, I am headed of to train about 12 staff today with TIPS training (Training for Intervention ProcedureS). TIPS is the global leader in education and training for the responsible service, sale and consumption of alcohol. Proven effective by third-party studies, TIPS is a skills-based training program that is designed to prevent intoxication, underage drinking and drunk driving. Hopefully this training will help my staff to be more aware of what to look for and how to handle the difficult situations that may arise while working here at Heron Hill! Cheers….

May 19, 2010 | Mike "Ollie" Oliver

The Blue Heron Café is now open!

By Mike "Ollie" Oliver, Blue Heron Café Director & Wholesale Sales Representative

With the recent opening of the Blue Heron Café, I have been splitting my time between that and Wholesaling. Of course, this falls at a time when I have many scheduled ride-alongs with our distributor’s representatives.

Between interviewing perspective servers and kitchen staff, ordering food, and trying to find what is missing, life has been a bit hectic lately. Highlighting my recent activity, I executed a staff tasting for the new Café menu. Following our staff meeting at the beginning of May, I, with the help of Mr. Brian Barry, wanted to prepare all of the menu items that we will be serving at the Café. The downside to this venture was that I made way too much food, and soon discovered that the staff was full before I was able to finish making the dishes! I guess it’s a good thing that I hadn’t made desserts too…

To follow up that week, the winery hosted TasteCamp, a regional meeting that took place in the Finger Lakes including wine writer and bloggers. I prepared a vast selection of food for lunch, from the Chicken Caesar and Calabrese Wraps to Fruit and Pasta Salads. The entire staff pitched in to make the event happen, which was greatly appreciated.

May 15th marked the first official day of the Café serving lunch for the season! We were honored to host an editor from the New York Post. It took a bit of scrambling and 11th hour work, but it went off without too many hitches. Kelsey Baker returned to serve for the grand reopening, and her efforts were well received. It is definitely early to call it, but it seems like the Cuban Panini and the Caribbean Pulled Pork Sandwich will be vying for the title of most popular dishes.

In the realm of Wholesaling, I have had some very prosperous days lately. While working with Southern Wine & Spirit reps, I have been able to place wines in new stores and restaurants. On my own, I have been making some definite headway in the local market. Look for some new wines to be served at the Switzerland Inn, The Lakeside and Sarassin’s, all on Keuka Lake!

I have had the chance to pour tastings at some amazing events lately too. Savor Syracuse was a benefit for the Food Bank of Central New York which was held at the Hotel Syracuse. The Binghamton Regency hosted a Catholic Charities fundraiser. Paws and Pairings, arranged by the owner of Bottles & Corks in Corning, was a benefit for local SPCA chapters held at CMOG. Coming up in the near future, look for Heron Hill to be featured at Slow Foods of Syracuse, GCP in Horseheads, Good Spirits in Geneseo, Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, Taste of the Nation in Ithaca and Alfred University (if you are an Alumnus!).

Kara Smith
May 6, 2010 | Kara Smith

Getting ready for the busy season!

By Kara Wilson, Wedding and Events Coordinator

Say good-bye April, hello May!

Last Friday, the staff and I spent time sampling local products. We tried Onion Creek Farm‘s Wing Nuts, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese, Laraia’s Handmade Mozzarella, Lively Run Goat Dairy and Organic Once Again Nut Butters. What a feast we had! Everything was absolutely delicious. Mike “Ollie” Oliver, Chef at Blue Heron Café, joined us in our tasting. We are looking to combine the local products in the Café as well as sell them in the gift shop. The Lively Run Goat Dairy products were amazing. The Chevre melted in your mouth. Ollie will be using Laria’s hand-made Mozzarella in his sample dishes in the up coming week.

As we were finishing our late morning snacks, Jeff from Food, Wine & Friends showed up with several gourmet hors d’oeuvres. He made bruschetta, cucumbers with salmon, tomatoes with basil and mozzarella, and taco dip with fresh guacamole. Everything was fabulous. We devoured every last parcel while sipping on the Classic Dry Riesling.

As we were finishing our late afternoon sampling, Crystal City Party Center started assembling our summer tents. I was finally able to see what I will be working with this summer. The wedding tent is huge. It will be perfect for our Bride and Groom’s Special Day! Soon we will be scrubbing chairs, cleaning the carpet and hanging the decorations. Wedding season kicks off June 27th this year!

The terrace furniture was set-up as well. The weather invited many visitors to share a bottle of wine on the terrace this past weekend. Two more months and our summer music series will start. We have a very talented line up this year. Be sure to stop up on Sunday’s from 12:30 to 4:30 and share in our summer fun.

The Café opens May 15th. Chef Ollie has done a fantastic job on the menu. Everything he has created is scrumptious. We are excited to open the Café for our summer visitors as well.

Also, I have been working hard to re-arrange the gift shop and bring in new products. We have many new local and wine related products to offer this year. We have everything you need for gifts, dinner parties as well as specialty foods.

I know it is only May but here at Heron Hill we are in full swing for summer. Help us welcome the season by stopping up and enjoying our fine wines, delicious food and spectacular view!

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