Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mason-Dixon Wine Trail

The time has finally come and we can bring it out from behind closed doors.  We announced it this morning.

For a while now, the UnCork York Wine trail has been working on finding a new due to our neighbors up north thinking that there would be confusion in the marketplace with their "UnCork New York" slogan.  Basically, they were going to sue us for trademark infringement.  I wasn't privy to all the discussions, but suffice it to say that we decided to play nice and give up on our six-year-old name.

And I'm thinking it's probably for the best.  With the Civil War sesquicentennial coming up, having a Mason-Dixon Wine Trail is probably not a bad idea.

I'm sure there are some of you who are wondering, "Isn't there already a Mason-Dixon wine trail?"  Of course, there was, with "was" being the operative word here.  John Crouch (of Allegro) and Mike Fiore (of, obviously, Fiore) first dreamt up the Mason-Dixon wine trail back in the '90s.  Early on it was only 6 wineries, but we later expanded it to eight.

Managing a trail takes a lot of effort, and getting eight wineries to all be on the same page is akin to herding cats....although that might be easier.  Maybe, it's like herding drunk cats.  Anyway.  After getting the trail up-and-running on two separate occasions, we were looking to try it for a third time.  That's when we realized we were just duplicating what the UnCork York Trail was doing.  Do some simple math, and it was pretty clear that we should just give up.

Mike Fiore is pretty clear in that he sees the continuation of the name as a tribute in memory of his (and my) dear friend John.  I like the way he sees it, and like all good winemakers, we're honoring the tradition of the past as we move forward.

The trail will be different.  It'll be new. But hopefully it will be good and better than it was.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

They're baaaaack........

The grapes, that is...

I think--insofar as I have any control over it--that tomorrow is the first day of harvest for us.  Sure, we have had a couple juice deliveries in the past week, but it really doesn't get going for us until we deal with fresh fruit, especially our own fruit.

We were doing so well.  Everything was clean, only a bit of mildew, no rot, nice canopy, no bird damage.  And then came Irene.  We sustained about 5" of rain with lots of wind.  Sure, we had some rows pushed over and some berries swell.  But the shit didn't hit the fan until I was walking through the Pinots (Noir and Meunier) and started to smell botrytis.  Crap.

Our Pinot is mostly old Champagne clones, very tight clusters.  All that rain and swelling caused some to burst--to the best of my knowledge--and in walked the rot.  It'll take a bit more effort to cull out the bad fruit as we pick it.  But even more at issue here is what to do with the fruit once we get it into the winery.  It was destined to be our Nouveau for this fall, but that's not going to work now.  At this ripeness level it's really meant for sparkling production, but fat chance I want to go through that, no matter how much I love bubbly from Pinot.

So, not sure what we're going to do tomorrow, except i do know we're going to be picking some grapes.  Wish me luck as I try to figure out what the heck I do with them......