Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It's been a gray week so far, cloudy with steady rain. Not great for cutting soybeans but perfect for baking, eating turkey and watching football. The Laytons are headed to Pennsylvania for the holiday weekend and we hope they'll bring sun when they return.

William and I (Chloe) went to speak to Al Cassinelli, of Cassinelli's Winery and Vineyards. He's going into his second year of operations and had many insights to share about his experience. Winemakers seem to be a pretty friendly breed, offering lots of encouragement to us newcomers.

Back at the winery, Richard has been doing (quite literally) the dirty work. We racked the Traminette yesterday, after a lengthy fermentation, and today, the Chambourcin. This process, where we get rid of the accumulated solids in the bottom of the tank, is called 'getting the wine off the lees.' Basically, there's a beautiful purple mess left from fermentation (the lees) and it has to be rinsed out before putting wine back in. Fortunately, water (and water pressure) are wonderful cleaning agents.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for checking in!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Preparing for winter

What a busy season! After the excitement with the press, things have been running relatively smoothly around here. We received juice from Concord, Traminette, and Chambourcin grapes at the end of October and they are happily fermenting away. The Vidal white and Chambourcin blush are finished fermenting and will rest for the next few weeks.

In the vineyard, we spent the past week doing preliminary pruning- trimming long shoots so vines can save energy reserves during the cold months. Another benefit to extensive pruning is to open up space for new shoots in the spring. We also began laying out the new vineyard (see the picture on our homepage), where we will plant 5 more acres of grapes this spring.

We have two new employees to help with all this work. Richard is helping William manage and maintain the vineyard. Chloe assists in the Winery, although there are many projects which call for collaboration.

As for construction in the winery, things are moving according to schedule (aside from some trouble with the well, now resolved). We have interior walls in most of the rooms and are preparing to furnish and equip the lab. Maybe we'll have that set up and usable by the end of the year!

Two more batches of juice will arrive soon, Vidal and Niagara varietals, so we'll keep you updated as things move along.