Harvest 2019 is officially in the books, just in time for our first substantial snowfall!
Because of the weather, harvest started a little late this year. Which can mean one of two things, it will last longer than normal, or it will be compressed into a smaller harvest window. This year the latter was the case. We started with Baco Noir on September 13th and Cabernet Sauvignon came in on Halloween.
This is my fifth harvest up on the Hill. Over the last two harvests, which were really large, we really stretched the capacity of the facility. With a smaller harvest this year, tonnage wise, we are able to try some new things that some years we don’t have time for. A good portion of these projects revolve around estate grown fruit.
For the first time since my arrival in 2015, we are going to make a barrel fermented, Ingle Vineyard Chardonnay. It will be in 50% new French oak and 50% 3-year-old America, French and Hungarian barrels as well. Part of the lot was on skins for 6 hours in the press to pull out more Chardonnay character from the skins.
My assistant Sam and I are also doing side by side yeast trials with two tanks of Ingle Vineyard Riesling. Will one win out over the other or will they be better blended? Stay tuned...
We are experimenting with the Keuka Lake Estate Riesling crop out in front of the winery and fermenting in flex tanks and neutral oaks.
So what is a flex tank? A flex tank allows one to control the amount of oak put in the wine. It also has the same porosity of a two-year-old barrel. This will be done to give a different structure and mouthfeel to our reserve wine.
Lastly, we will be making a Late Harvest Riesling this year from Ingle Vineyard fruit that was picked on Monday, November 11th. We try this as not to be at the mercy of mother nature but hopefully to make a product like the 2017 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc that many loved, that is now sold out.
Even though we didn't have to press any grapes in the wind driven snow like we did last year, we did end the year with a very long Saturday of pressing the grapes that were left so we could get it done before the first expected snowfall that hit the region this week. This would be a great time to take a few days off and catch up on some sleep, but we have 2018 wines to be bottled and 2019 wines to be made. There's no rest for the wicked when you're a winemaker.
As we approach Father’s Day and the first day of summer, we at Heron Hill are putting our first wines of the 2015 vintage into the bottle along with some others wines as well. So far, I'm very pleased with the 2015 whites. From last vintage we have the Save the White Deer wine that is a blend of Riesling and Chardonnay mostly from Ingle Vineyard. Reserve Pinot Blanc 2015 has made it into the line-up after being sold out for 6 months. It is a dry, elegant wine sourced from Morris Vineyards on the west side of Seneca Lake. The 2014 Ingle Vineyard Riesling has also been released. Although fairly dry, it can be both enjoyed on its own or definitely with food. Classic Chardonnay 2015 is now in the bottling room awaiting last minute tweaks and will be bottles next week. We are also preparing to bottle the 2014 Eclipse Red…all year we’re celebrating 25 years of this signature Heron Hill red blend and we are looking forward to the celebration party this summer on August 25!