Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm Back

-- I go on vacation to Florida for some sun and Florida has record low temperatures while I'm there. Of course, their low temperatures are only in the 40's overnight and the 60's during the day, but Floridians act like it's 10 below zero. I'm running around without a coat and they call me crazy. Anyway, it was good to get away for a while, but it's good to be back home.

-- Here is a great story on the man who founded the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.

--Here is an article on how the new Immigration Reform Bill may affect Finger Lakes wineries.

-- Here is a nice story about a Finger Lakes dairy farm.

-- A California writer praises Finger Lakes Riesling (specifically 2005 Treleaven Dry Riesling)

-- The Rochester Winos sounds like a club I'd like to join.

-- For those of you out of state, here is a nice list of New York wineries and what states they are licensed to deliver to.

-- I'll be making the rounds at the wineries this weekend, so I'll report on Monday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On Vacation, Next Post- March 30

The Weekend Wino is heading to Florida for a well-deserved vacation to get rid of the winter blahs. I'll be back in a week with more posts. In the meantime, please check out my archives (lower right) for posts you may have missed and check out my links at the right. Thanks for reading my blog! Talk to ya in a week.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finger Lakes Wine News & Notes

-- I attended some portions of the Wineries Unlimited trade show last week. My thanks to Richard Leahy of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine for his hospitality. Here is a good wrapup of the event by Sandra Silfven of The Detroit News. A lot of Finger Lakes winemakers were on hand and the keynote speech by Ernst Loosen, Decanter's Man Of The Year, was about the New Rise of Riesling around the world.

--Jeff Richards new wine column is about the upcoming Golden Nose event presented by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. A certain blogger may be in attendance.

-- Here is a good article on the similarities of Italy's Tuscany region to the Finger Lakes.

--Here is a good article on the wine industry boom in the Finger Lakes.

--Sheila Livadas' current winery profile is about Arbor Hill Grapery located on the west side of Canandaigua Lake.

-- The new Spring "Life In The Finger Lakes" magazine is now out with good articles on Letchworth State Park and notable women from the Finger Lakes, as well as their usual awesome photography.

-- There's an interesting wine harvest diary at

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Finger Lakes Winemaker Q&A

This Q&A is with Peter Bell, winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards. Before coming to Fox Run, Bell crafted wine for wineries in Australia and New Zealand and then went on to Dr. Franks Wine Cellars in 1990. He was hired at Fox Run in 1995 and has helped Fox Run to become one of the premier wineries in the Finger Lakes, producing world class wines with a "Minimal Intervention" approach. Peter is a tireless promoter of Finger Lakes wine and he has earned the respect as one of the finest winemakers in the region.

WW: Briefly describe Your Philosophy of Winemaking.
PB: To gently guide grapes from the vine into the bottle.

WW: What is your favorite thing about making wine?
PB: Being able to show up at work and do what I love ­ and be paid for it.
Is this a dream?

WW: If you were dropped on an island and could have any 3
wines, what would they be?
PB: 1. Any Finger Lakes Dry Riesling ­ the ultimate refresher.
2. Fox Run Tawny Port, because a tiny thimbleful would go such a long
3. A bottle of Champagne, to open when the ship came to rescue me --
and I wouldn't need a corkscrew!

WW: Do you prefer real cork, synthetic cork, or screw cap and why?
PB: We use all three. Corks are great in most cases, but screw caps are the

WW: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a winemaker:
PB: Become an organ donor. The world needs more Hammonds and Wurlitzers.
Then we'll talk.

WW: What wine tasting advice would you give to someone visiting the Finger
Lakes for the first time?
PB: Spit, don't swallow. It's going to be a big day.

WW: What makes the Finger Lakes area special to you?
PB: Those long, finger-shaped bodies of water.

WW: What is the wine you are most proud of making and why?
PB: My Ports .­ I have about 20 barrels of Port and they are all different.

WW: What new wines are in the works for your winery?
PB: Our next bottling of Fox Run Tawny Port, late this summer.

WW: Who are your 3 favorite Finger Lakes winemakers?
PB: This would be like choosing my favorite child. I have immense respect
for everybody here.

WW: What are your 3 favorite Non-Finger Lakes wines?
PB: Pol Roger Champagne, Tio Pepe Sherry, Hardy's McLaren Vale Grenache.
My address for deliveries is...

WW: If you had to be something else besides a winemaker,
what would it be?
PB: A university lecturer (in wine science, of course).

WW: Who has been the most important person to you in your
development as a winemaker and why?
PB: Thomas Henick-Kling, Professor of Enology at Cornell University, and
Scott Osborn, President of Fox Run: Both heroes of mine.

WW: Who is your favorite musical artist or band?
PB: How about my favorite 50 musical artists...

My thanks to Peter Bell for answering my questions. If you are visiting the Finger Lakes, be sure to visit Fox Run Vineyards, located on the west side of Seneca Lake.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Finger Lakes News Nuggets

-- President Bush will be visiting the Finger Lakes area tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14) with a visit to Canandaigua. Maybe the Prez will stop by the Finger Lakes Wine Center at beautiful Sonnenberg Gardens to sample some Finger Lakes wine. Of course, he would have to spit. You can't drink on duty when you are Commander In Chief. But I hear that his daughters have been known to sip a glass or two or three...

-- My secret Finger Lakes informant "Deep Vine" tells me the name of Red Newt's new refreshing Niagara will be 'Blue Newt White' and "Deep Vine" says that Lakewood Vineyard's 2005 Rieslings are outstanding. In fact, I've been hearing that overall both the Reds and Whites of 2005 will be some of the best produced in the Finger Lakes. Of course, we will have to wait for most of the reds.

-- Don't forget, if you want a chance to rub shoulders with the winemakers of the Finger Lakes and learn how to judge wine, then you'll want to attend the Golden Nose Wine Judging Weekend, a Seneca Lake Wine Trail event. Tickets are still available but I hear they are going fast.

-- Here's some news from our neighbors at Fulkerson Winery:
Recently released wines:
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon- 0%rs, $16.00, 8 months in French Oak, Generous
Fruit forward aromas of blackberries with a touch of leather and tobacco
carry through to a fruity tart taste edged with vanilla that ends on a
serious tannic note.
2004 Vincent- 0%rs, $9.00, 12 months in older French & American Oak,
Awaken your palate with this dense puple red. Nice plum and tea leaf aromas
with a mouth filling juicy taste followed by a kick of tart elderberry. Enjoy
with chicken cacciatore, spicy foods and "a rich Italian"...!
Centennial- 9.8%rs, $14.00, A wine produced for our 200th anniversary
on the farm. So good we brought it back for the 201st year! A candied wild
cherry aroma with a touch of mint followed by a sweet pomegranate tropical
Fulkerson Winery has been busy bottling many wines from the 2004-2005
harvest's. Bottled and soon to be released in the coming months
are: 2004 Reserve Red, 2004 Pinot Noir, 2004 Cabernet Franc,
2004 Gewurztraminer, 2005 Traminette, 2005 Ravat 51 and the Sunset
Blush (Catawba) from '05.
We are soon to run out of the following varieties, so come and get them
while you still can: 2003 Vidal Ice Wine, 2002 Gewurztraminer, 2003
Red, 2003 Chardonnay, 2004 Dry Riesling and 2004 Johannisberg Riesling.
The Fulkerson family and staff would like to pass on their heart felt
condolences to the Frank family and the staff at Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine
Cellars & Chateau Frank for the passing of Willy Frank, one of the Finger
Lake region's great leaders in the wine industry.

-- I received news of a new wine made by not one winery, but three; an unprecedented collaboration by 3 of the Finger Lakes top wineries. I can't wait to try it. Here is the press release:
Anthony Road Wine Company, Fox Run Vineyards and Red Newt Wine Cellars are proud to announce the debut of Tierce, a 2004 Dry Riesling, marking a new collaborative effort in Finger Lakes winemaking. Tierce Dry Riesling will be released on May 5, 2006, kicking off the Riesling Month celebration.Peter Bell of Fox Run, Johannes Reinhardt of Anthony Road and David Whiting of Red Newt, each contributed a portion of Riesling wine, made from fruit grown on the slopes of Seneca Lake, to create 100 cases of a single wine. "This wine pulls together not only the unique vineyard expressions of Seneca Lake, but also the individual philosophies of the participating winemakers," commented Dave Whiting, winemaker and co-owner of Red Newt.Peter, Johannes and Dave not only decided what blend to create, they also chose to seal the bottle with a screw cap because this type of closure works well for wines with delicate aromas, such as a Riesling. Fox Run's winemaker, Peter Bell, noted that, "Screw caps with Riesling wines are quite clearly the way of the future. Corks, natural or synthetic, have a tendency to affect the wine¹s aroma."Fox Run's owner, Scott Osborn, stated, " This is a new level of collaboration among Finger Lakes wineries. In the past, wineries and winemakers have shared information, but this marks the first time three Finger Lakes wineries have worked together to produce and market a wine.""The wine reflects the passion of the three winemakers and opens the door to a new Riesling experience" commented Johannes Reinhardt, of Anthony Road, when asked about this team effort.

--Don't forget to visit my links on the right side of the page. And if you want to receive monthly updates on Finger Lakes news and events, just fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Finger Lakes Wines Do Well In Florida Competition

-- A few weeks ago, I touted Torrey Ridge Winery's Delaware wine-
( We opened a bottle of Torrey Ridge Delaware this week and I remembered why we had purchased it. In my experience, most wines made from the native Delaware grape are too grapey for my taste. But this white wine moderates that grapiness and sweetness with a crisp acidity that really makes a good and balanced wine. So, if you are a fan of native grape varieties, I'd recommend the Torrey Ridge Delaware.) Well now the Florida State Fair Wine Competition judges have bestowed a Double Gold award to Torrey Ridge for their Niagara wine. Obviously, Torrey Ridge is doing wonderful things with native grapes just when many have dismissed native grapes as sweet, grapey, and lacking balance or complexity.
Finger Lakes wineries fared very well at the Florida State Fair Wine Competition, snaring a total of 119 medals. Here are the Gold and Double Gold medal winners:

Torrey Ridge Winery Niagara- Double Gold
Torrey Ridge Winery 2003 Traminette- Gold
Goose Watch Winery 2004 Melody- Gold

Hosmer Winery 2004 Cabernet Franc- Gold
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars 2004 Semi-Dry Riesling Estate Bottled- Gold
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2004 Petite Dry Rose- Gold
Sheldrake Point Vineyard 2004 Riesling Ice Wine- Gold
Swedish Hill Winery Svenska Blush- Gold
Swedish Hill Winery Viking Red- Gold

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Sad Day For The Finger Lakes

-- I just heard the sad news that Willy Frank of Dr. Frank Wine Cellars passed away in Florida on Tuesday from a stroke. Willy was 80 years old. He was a tireless promoter of Dr. Frank wines and of Finger Lakes wines and a first-class individual. He took over the winery founded by his father, Finger Lakes wine pioneer Dr. Konstantin Frank, and molded it in to a world-class wine company. The entire Finger Lakes wine industry owes a debt of gratitude to Willy and his father. Here is the Star-Gazette article. Tonight, I will raise my glass to toast a wonderful winemaker and man. Here's to you Willy Frank- Heaven has a new winemaker
extraordinaire!!! I'd like to read any memories or comments you may have about Willy Frank.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wine Blogging Wednesday

First I'd like to thank Jathan at, our host for this months WBW, for forcing me well out of my wine comfort zone of United States wine and into France's Rhone wine region. Being a wine simpleton at this stage (but wanting to learn), I knew nothing about French wine and have, in fact, found it somewhat baffling with labels in a code that I had not the knowledge to crack(I guess learning some French would help). But this exercise gave me the impetus to learn more, and learning more about wine was one of the reasons that I started this blog.

After researching what I was to look for and what was available in my area, I chose an E.Guigal 2001 Cotes du Rhone Blanc for $12.99. The price was right and it was from the right place. I had no preconceived notions of this wine and had no idea whether it was dry or off-dry. The wine is a blend of 33% Rousanne, 25% Clairette, 25% Viognier, 15% Bourbolene, and 2% Grenache Blanc, meeting this WBW's stated requirements of a Rhone blend.

The wine was a pale straw color and exhibited very faint hints of mineral and petroleum and not much else. At first sip, I noted bitter tastes of mineral and petroleum-alcohol that overpowered the fruit, with hints of oak and pepper. Not a very good first impression. Since I have had other white wines that started out of the bottle like this, but then benefited greatly from some air time, I decided to let my glass sit for a while. I asked this question before, but I will ask all of you more experienced wine people again- Should white wine be decanted? In searching the internet, I can find very few references to decanting white wine but, in my experience, some white wines really evolve for the better after some air time.

And such was the case for this wine. After about 20 minutes, the heavy petroleum-alcohol had mellowed and revealed hints of butter, citrus, and even vanilla, actually reminding me of a Chardonnay. But still the petro-alcohol was over the top. Perhaps the 13% alcohol was too much for my taste. As time went by, the wine got a little better for me, but it would not be a wine that I would buy again.

In searching for other reviews of this wine, I could hardly believe that I was drinking the same wine as other reviewers. Most also rated it average, but they noted tastes of pear, honeysuckle, pineapple, green apple, and papaya that just were not there for me. Perhaps 5 years was too long for this wine or perhaps I just got what I paid for- a low-priced wine. So, in summary, this wine was just ok for me, but this WBW did force me to learn much more about French wine than I knew before. And to me, that is success. For the pursuit of knowledge is always a noble thing. Thanks Again Jathan!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

March Wine Events

-- The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has their 'Cruisin The Tropics' Weekend March 25 & 26 to beat the winter blues and start Spring off early. Participating wineries will be pairing tropical foods with wine and the wineries will each have a tropical theme. Think of it as Jimmy Buffett meets the Finger Lakes. Get your tickets now because these events usually sell out quickly.

-- The Cayuga Wine Trail has their 'Meet The Winemakers' Weekend March 18 & 19, where participating wineries on Cayuga Lake give you special tastings and the winemakers discuss and answer your questions about their wines. This is a unique opportunity to meet with the winemakers of your favorite wines.

-- Hunt Country, Heron Hill, and Dr. Frank wineries are having their Spring Break weekend March 25 & 26 featuring wine tastings and live Classic Rock music to welcome the Spring in. This event is free at all 3 wineries.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Finger Lakes News Droplets

-- Sheldrake Point Vineyard's award-winning ice wine was served in The White House last month.

-- Congratulations to Mike Rusinko, the new president of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance.

-- 3 articles on tourism in The Finger Lakes- Brad Phillips, director of marketing at Hazlitt talks about the winery perspective, Molly McCarthy at the Star-Gazette writes about the future of Finger Lakes tourism, and Larry Wilson at the Star-Gazette writes on the success of Finger Lakes Wine Country's ad campaign.

-- Wine tasting bloggers give Chateau Lafayette Reneau Riesling high marks.

-- Here is a good review on a book about the Iriquois Confederacy that once inhabited The Finger Lakes.

-- Wagner Vineyards has some beer and wine specials and special events this month.

-- Don't forget to visit the websites listed at the right side of this page for more wine info.