Friday, September 23, 2016

Understanding Harvest with Monica Pennings from Christopher Jacobs Winery at Pennings Vineyards

This is the last in my series of "What harvest means to you." As now we are in the beginnings of the 2016 harvest. Long days and hard work for the next 6 or so weeks to bring the new chapter "The 2016 Hudson Valley Harvest" to a close so you can enjoy the wine in the years to come.

Monica Pennings gives us her view on harvest and what it means to her.

1.  "Harvest" to us is a celebration of the completion of our growing season and the beginning of our wine making season. It's a pivotal point where gears shift dramatically.  It's an exciting time.  It is when a new chapter begins.  We especially get great gratification of seeing our fruit looking ready for the next step. 

2. What are factors in knowing when is the right time to pick the grapes?

 We harvest our grapes based on maturity, ripeness and what we hope to achieve in terms of a style of wine.  Some parameters used in our decision making process of when to harvest can be acidity, tannin, aroma, flavor.  Basic measures of brix and pH are key components.  All this will vary by variety of the grape.  There is also weather to consider, as rain may effect grapes just before harvest time.

3. Once the grapes are picked, what is the process of getting it from vine to bottle?

  The process of getting grapes from vine to bottle is extensive.  In a nutshell, it starts with the harvest.  The preparation and care of the fruit before beginning any processing would be second.  Crushing the fruit is next.  Depending on the wine we may immediately press or we may start the fermentation, then press.  The fermentation process is a major phase in transforming grapes from vine to bottle. There are many details to account for and a watchful eye throughout the process is important.  Once fermentation is complete, there may be the need to press.  Ultimately, the fresh wine is racked (taken off the remaining slurry that settles to the bottom of your fermentation vessel) into a clean tank or barrel.  From there the wine will develop more with time. 

4.& 5.  Do you have any activities that allow the public to participate in harvest (ie. grape picking, cellar rat for a day?) and . What events do you have for the public if any to celebrate the Harvest? (ie. Harvest party, grape stomping etc.)

At Christopher Jacobs Winery, we coordinate a Harvest Festival.  The invitation is extended to all those interested in experiencing the "harvest" of some of our grapes.  We provide a picnic spread of sandwiches, local cheeses, and other finger foods along with our wine!  Interested grape pickers pick and harvest grapes by the bin full.  Each bin awards them a ticket that can be exchanged for the picnic spread choices and wine.  It's all hands on deck for our Harvest Festival!!  The Pennings Family is out in full force, as we facilitate and host this super fun and rewarding experience!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wine Word Wednesday: Xarel-lo

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What I learned on the First "National Prosecco Day"

Yes there is a day to celebrate everything!  On Saturday, August 13 we celebrated Prosecco with the first National Prosecco Day.  I thought it was fitting to  celebrate at the pool with a bottle of Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero.

One of the things I loved was this small bottle (187ml).  Made it very easy to twist off the cap, consume and enjoy in 100 degree heat and I didn't have to share. Not to mention it was the perfect fit for my cooler.

Refreshing it was and I was immediately hit with flavors of apple, pear a kiss sweetness and just enough frizzante to put a smile on my face. After all, I was the only one at the pool with a bottle of bubbles. 

The small (187ml) bottle retails for $6.99 and the regular size bottle retails for $14.

What else did I learn about Prosecco.....
  • Riondo Prosecco founded National Prosecco Day this year (2016)
  • It can only be produced in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of Italy
  • It is made with 85% Glera grape. Other grapes used for the 15% are Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera Lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio
  • In 2009 to stop imitators from using the Prosecco designation the Italian government officially changed the name of the grape from Prosecco to Glera
  • Versions of Prosecco can be made Sparkling (Spumante) Semi-Sparkling (Frizzante) and still (Tranquillo)
  • There is a range of sweetness to Prosecco with Brut being the driest and Demi-Sec the sweetest
  • Prosecco should be enjoyed young and fresh

Saturday, September 17, 2016

HELP! Suggest a Book Title

Help!  I need a book title.

Many of  you know I've been working on a book and the title was going to be "Hudson Valley Uncorked!".  Well, the publisher who contracted with me to write the book has fell on hard times.

Monday I received a message from him that his wife suddenly became very ill. My thoughts and prayers go out to him.  And if you could say a prayer for them too, I'm sure that will help.

However, he said he can't work on my book until the earliest now 1st quarter of 2017. I was very disappointed as the work is done.  All it needs is a good edit.

I asked him to relinquish the rights to the book and give it to me to self publish. He agreed, since it is pretty much ready to go out.

Now I need to come up with a new title of the book.  The title can not use the words Uncork or Uncorked.

Please go over to my facebook page and suggest a title 

The winning title will get a free copy of the book when it is published.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Results of the 2016 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition

Saturday September 10, The Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition was held at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival in Rhinebeck, New York.

I run this competition every year and it warms my heart when I hear the judges talk and comment to me on how the quality of the wine produced in the area has grown. 

I am really excited because this year the competition results shows the younger generation of winemakers rising to the top. There was some outstanding wine judged and we had quite the taste off to decide the best of the best. 

I am so thankful for the wonderful judges and  killer back room staff I had ths year..  I am the luckiest wine goddess around to have such wonderful childhood friends who came and worked the back room this year.  It was the smoothest run competition yet. 

The judges who come from as far away as South Jersey to judge the competition and to witness the great quality of wine produced in the Hudson Valley.

This years judges were: Bob Brink, Fine Wines Manager, Arlington Wine & Liquor; Christopher Matthews, Wine & Spirits Columnist for New York Law Journal Magazine; Ned Towle, Director, Westchester Wine School; Tom Edwards, Fox & Hound Wines; Dr. Evan Goldfisher, George Drivas, Sage Restaurant & Lounge, Dana H Lee, Certified Specialist of Wine; Chris Gerling, Extension Associate for Enology for New York State; John Hudleson, Assistant Professor of Global Wine Studies at Central Washington University; Diane Letulle, Wine Dine Go; Lori Budd, Dracaena Wines; Paul Tonacci, Vinedrea Wines, Gary Pavlis,  County Agricultural & Resource Management, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic City and Frank Aquilino, American Wine Society President.

And the winners are:  drum roll please............