Every year, when Earth Day rolls around, it gives us a great opportunity to share our goals and vision for sustainable grape growing - but we strive to communicate our mission every day: to educate and inform customers who enjoy our wines about how and why our efforts make a difference.
This year, we are really able to bring this more full circle. In the beginning of the year, owners of Heron Hill and grape growers, John and Jo Ingle, were awarded Grape Grower of the Year by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. This award is given out to a grower in New York State that should be recongized for their dedication and contributions to the New York grape industry.
John and Jo have been sustainably growing grapes on the Western Shores of Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes in the Finger Lakes since 1972, making them one of the original pioneers of the Finger Lakes wine business.
Though we are not certified organic, we pride ourselves on using sustainable practices in the vineyards that we cultivate on Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes. At Heron Hill and Ingle Vineyard we don’t use harsh fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. (Due to our sometimes humid climate we maintain a fungicide spray program that only selects specific targets thus reducing the need to “blanket” spray.)
In May, we will cultivate the center rows which loosen up the soil, allowing moisture to seep into the ground, and we follow up with a cover crop that will grow and help prevent the errosion of the soil and soil compaction.
Ingle Vineyards, West side of Canandaigua Lake
When it comes to marketing and positioning our wines so that our customers know about our efforts in the vineyard to be sustainable, a lot of it starts in conversation in our tasting rooms. We feel it's important for a consumer to know where our products come from, how it was made or grown, that it's more healthful and that it's produced by caring, conscientious people.
If you've visited Heron Hill or have enjoyed a Heron Hill wine, you probably are familiar with the Ingle Vineyard series. Our Ingle Vineyard wines consist of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, The Chosen Spot blend and coming soon, a Blaufränkisch. All of these wines are single-vineyard wines that are made with sustainably farmed grapes from John and Jo's vineyards. If you haven't yet enjoyed one of these wines - now you surely have a reason!
It's very important to us to farm sustainably so that all who enjoy Heron Hill wines form a trust in our brand. We strive to make an impact on all who consume our products while also helping make a difference in the world. We want to ensure our farms have a viable future for generations to come.
Learn more about our sustainable farming practices.
For decades, Heron Hill Winery has been commited to making superior cool-climate wines but also giving back to the local Finger Lakes and western New York community. Owners, John and Josephine Ingle are particularly passionate about programs and organizations that benefit conservation, arts, and family services. In 2016, the winery started a charity wine program that would benefit a local non-for-profit organization that they support. The Seneca White Deer Inc. was the receipent for last year's donations.
This is a perfect time to give you all a recap and update on the Seneca White Deer Inc. and how the $4,500 we were able to raise helped them out! The mission of the organization is to preserve the unique wildlife and military history of the former Seneca Army Depot through conservation, ecotourism and economic development. White deer and other wildlife occupy the land.
With the help of our charity wine program, as well as other many generous donors, the organization will begin to offer full-scale bus tours at the former Army Depot starting this fall as well as updating visitor facilities. The tours will feature the world’s largest herd of white, white-tail deer, other wildlife and military and historic artifacts. These tours will offer a unique experience for tourists and have potential to provide substantial economic benefits to the Seneca County community. Thank you to everyone who purchased the "Save the White Deer" Riesling-Chardonnay wine. The contribution will help in their fundraising and conservation efforts to continue to save the white deer, preserve the land and increase visitation to the area. To check out more information on Seneca White Deer or how you can help, visit senecawhitedeer.org.
This year, we're happy to announce that we are partnering with The EquiCenter in Honeoye Falls, NY.
Heron Hill Winery has been supporting the organization for several years starting when John Ingle installed raised beds to kickstart their gardening program. The EquiCenter is a 501(c)(3) organization that offers therapeutic equine programs for those with disabilities, veterans, at-risk youth and their families to help foster personal growth and achievement. They continue to expand their offerings to fit the needs of the people they serve such as canine-assisted activities, adaptive yoga and farm-to-table culinary classes. President and CEO at the Equicenter, Jonathan Friedlander, states that he is "so honored to be chosen for this year's charity for Heron Hill Winery. Our programs will benefit greatly from this partnership".
Pictured on the right: Eric Frarey, COO of Heron Hill Winery, John Ingle, Owner of Heron Hill Winery, Howie Jacobson, Board of Directors Member at EquiCenter and Jonathan Friedlander, President and CEO of EquiCenter
With each case sold of the wine, $24 will go directly to benefit The EquiCenter. The wine will be released in all three Heron Hill tasting rooms on Keuka, Seneca and Canandaigua Lake, some wine retailers within Ontario & Monroe County and online on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017. The bottle will retail for $19.99. For the release, each of the Heron Hill tasting rooms will have complimentary samples of the wine. A representative from the EquiCenter will be at the Keuka Lake Tasting Room from 2-6 pm, and our Summer Happy Hour and live music will follow at 5 pm.
Lastly, you're probably wondering what the wine tastes like! After we bottled the wine, our winemaker, Barry brought out the wine for us to try. The approachable, semi-dry wine consists of 70% Riesling and 30% Chardonnay, both varieties that truly show what we're all about here. On the nose, you might find notes of honeysuckle like I did. The wine boasts flavors of orange blossom and manderin with a zesty finish. About 200 cases were produced of this wine, and it's guarenteed to sell out fast. Visit any 3 of our tasting rooms to get your hands on this wine while supporting this great cause or purchase them here!