Harvest Prep: Jim from Walker Road Vineyards

I was lucky enough to catch Jim Frey, owner of Walker Road for a few minutes before his crazy busy season started. We chatted about Harvest and what his pre-harvest traditions are over at Walker Road Vineyards.

How do you get ready for harvest? “We start by harvesting our Marquette grapes.”

The Marquette grape is the grandson of Frontenac and Pinot Noir. This grape creates a wine that is complex, ruby red in color, and very flavorful. The wine has notes of cherry, berry, black pepper, and baking spices. A delicious red wine.

Any other fun harvest traditions? Harvest snack/food of choice?

“Our friends and family always come over and help us harvest the grapes. It is a great day to share with everyone! After harvesting during the day, we crush in the evening (a little cooler) and have either pulled pork sandwiches or chili.”

Visiting Walker Road Vineyards:

Visiting Walker Road is like stepping into a “Vineyard Oasis”. Enjoy your wine tasting in their 150 year old barn overlooking their gorgeous vineyards. Owner Jim Frey just received the “Wine Person of the Year” award for CT and he truly deserved it. The vineyards are managed meticulously and the wines are exquisite. Jim and his wife are normally behind the tasting bar serving guests as they mingle and enjoy the scenery. Make sure to stop by and enjoy delicious wines, great stories, and great people!

Winemaker: Jim Frey

Location: 11 Walker Road, Woodbury, CT (Visit)

Tasting Hours: Sat-Sun 12-5, May through mid-December

 

Chamard Vineyards: Harvest Prep

I got to catch up with  winemaker Kristen Parsons of Chamard Vineyards. She was kind enough to give us a few minutes of her time to tell us how she prepares for her crazy busy season and their quirky harvest traditions.

Wine we make first: We make wine depending on which grape comes in first.  In the fall, the California grapes ripen first.  For our estate grapes, the Chardonnay usually is the first to ripen, and therefore the first wine made.

Traditional harvest meals: We have gardens here at Chamard Vineyards.  Our traditional harvest meal consists of salsa verde made from garden fresh tomatillos and jalapenos. Along with freshly picked tomato for salad, this accompanies grilled steak, sausage and chicken and corn tortillas.

Traditions: Everybody enters the betting pool on when and which day our Vineyard Manager, Jim, will cut his finger with the harvest pruning sheers.

Find out more about Kristin in here winemaker interview HERE.

Visiting Chamard Vineyards:

Visiting Chamard Vineyards is like taking a trip to the French country side.  Once you turn into the driveway you are surrounded by a myriad of beautiful grape vines and transported to a Chateau style winery. You can enjoy delicious wines while taking in the gorgeous views of a fountain and pristine vineyards.

A tasting includes samples of 5 wines and a Reidel glass which is your’s to keep. Each tasting is $10.00 per person. Chamard can accommodate parties of up to 10 people without a reservation. Stop in and sip on some tasty vino while you wait for your table at their Bistro.

The Bistro pairs delicious foods with the wines made on the property. Many of the vegetables and fruits that are sourced for the bistro are from Chamard’s on premise garden. Very much a farm to table atmosphere, Chamard Vineyards is a fantastic place to sip great wine and enjoy delicious food with family and friends. I hope you enjoy your visit! Cheers!

Winemaker: Kristen Parsons
Winery: Chamard Vineyards: Winery & Bistro (Visit)
Location: 115 Cow Hill Rd, Clinton, CT 06413
Tasting Hours: OPEN Monday – Saturday 11:00AM – 9:00PM, Sundays 11:00AM – 8:00PM

National Cabernet Day at Chamard Vineyards

National Cabernet Day is one of my all-time favorite days (August 31st, put it on your calendar for next year) 😉

Cabernet is one of my favorite wines because it is full of complexity. Exposing dark berry flavors such as black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and black currants on the nose and palate.  Most producers will also introduce it to some sort of oak infusion. This usually means the wine gains notes of vanilla, coconut, smoky characteristics, spicy notes, and a silky mouth-feel. Almost a “liquid cashmere” quality.

At Chamard their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon does just that! Their 2014 Cabernet is full of flavor, body, and complex flavors. Notes of black cherry, black pepper, tobacco, and vanilla tantalize your taste buds as you sip. Pair with their Four Mile River Farm Burger and you will not be sorry.

Visiting Chamard:

Winemaker: Kristen Parsons

Location: 115 Cow Hill Rd, Clinton, CT 06413 (Visit)

Tasting Hours: OPEN Monday – Saturday 11:00AM – 9:00PM, Sundays 11:00AM – 8:00PM

Tasting Options: Enjoy a tasting & a snack!

Visiting Chamard Vineyards is like taking a trip to the French country side. Once you turn into the driveway you are surrounded by a myriad of beautiful grape vines and transported to a Chateau style winery. You can enjoy delicious wines while taking in the gorgeous views of a fountain and pristine vineyards.

A tasting includes samples of 5 wines and a Reidel glass which is your’s to keep. Each tasting is $10.00 per person. Chamard can accommodate parties of up to 10 people without a reservation. Stop in and sip on some tasty vino while you wait for your table at their Bistro.

The Bistro pairs delicious foods with the wines made on the property. Many of the vegetables and fruits that are sourced for the bistro are from Chamard’s on premise garden. Very much a farm to table atmosphere, Chamard Vineyards is a fantastic place to sip great wine and enjoy delicious food with family and friends. I hope you enjoy your visit!

Cheers!

How Winemakers Prepare for Harvest: Southern Connecticut Wine Company

I got to catch up with owner and winemaker Amanda Brackett of Southern Connecticut Wine Company. She owns Connecticut’s First Micro Winery located in Wallingford, CT. Make sure to stop by for a tasting of some delicious and exciting wine blends!

Amanda was kind enough to give us a few minutes of her time to tell us how she prepares for her crazy busy season. Check out how she gets into “harvest mode” aka “winemaker beast mode”  below.

 “I first stockpile beer. My harvest beer is usually Sam Adams, Porch Rocket. Then I head to the grocery store and buy all of the El Monte breakfast burritos that they have in stock.

I usually start my harvest off with whites. I’m still working out which red blend will kick off this season. Probably the Super T and BRDX. It really depends on which grapes are available and when they start rolling in.

Ridiculous harvest traditions include large bonfires to which the fire department responds, a whiskey fueled grape stomp and lots of beer drinking until all of the wine is crushed, fermented, pressed and then finally in vessels… then we celebrate with martinis.”

Visiting Southern Connecticut Wine Company:

When you walk into Soconn aka Southern Connecticut Wine Company you feel like you are transported to your best friend’s house. You walk in, grab a seat, and are greeted by owner Amanda and are off to tasting some delicious wines!  They also offer wine appreciation classes, craft nights and blending classes throughout the year. But my favorite event is First Fridays. The first Friday of every month they have a new artist displaying their work, live music, and a new wine release! Great wines, great vibes, and great events!

Arielle of Balderdash Cellars gives me a few tidbits on how she preps for harvest!

Before winemaker Arielle from Balderdash Cellars jets off to Italy for Harvest, she gave me a few tidbits on how she preps for harvest!


Most wineries usually produce their white wines first because white grapes ripen before red grapes. We actually make our red wines first, so that we can move the red wine to barrel and hold our white wines in tank until they are ready to be bottled.


I’m not sure if it qualifies as a harvest tradition per se but whenever I pitch yeast, I like to encourage them and tell them they are going to do great things and make great wine! It makes a late night of pitching yeast a little more entertaining and who knows, maybe it actually benefits the yeast!

Visiting Balderdash Cellars:

Balderdash Winery is home to some amazing wines and amazing people. Owners Christian and Donna Hanson truly make visiting the winery a great experience. The winery is boutique in style, so expect to be trying some interesting and delicious small batch wines that you can only try at their winery.  They focus on “producing ultra-premium (wicked to New England folks) wines from grapes grown by world-class California vineyards.”

Location: 502 East Street (rear of the building) Pittsfield, MA 01201

Tasting Hours: Saturdays 1-5pm, please call to set up private/group tastings (info)

Tasting Options:  Tastings are $8/person and refundable with purchase of $50/person.

 

I want to give a big Thank You to Arielle Fabiano from Bladerdash Cellars for giving us a peak into the life of a Winemaker. Make sure to stop by Balderdash Cellars in Pittsfield, MA for some delicious wines made from a very passionate Winemaker! #GirlsMakeWineToo

End of Summer Sangria Recipes

As summer comes to an end and the fall harvest begins I wanted to share some fun Sangria recipes for the weekend. Thank you to Maureen Macdonald for contributing some delicious recipes to my Sangria addiction.  Cheers!

Pink Lemonade Sangria

Makes about 1 gallon
2 750ml bottles of Pinot Grigio
1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 quart tub of frozen strawberries (sugar added is fine) (frozen fruit breaks down better and leaks out more flavors as it defrosts plus it keeps it cold)
1 2 Liter of Sprite or Club Soda (depending on how sweet you want it)
*If you want to make it stronger, you can add strawberry schnapps however this will make it much sweeter so use club soda

 

Peach Mango Sangria

Makes about 1 gallon
2 750ml bottles of Pinot Grigio
1 cup of Peachtree schnapps
1/3 cup lime juice
1 bag frozen peaches
1 16oz can Goya Mango nectar
1 quart of Ocean Spray White Cranberry Peach Juice
1 liter of lime seltzer

 

Mixed Berry Malbec Sangria

Makes about 1 gallon
2 750 ml bottles Malbec
1 cup of Chambourd Raspberry Liquor
1/3 cup lime juice
1 quart of cran raspberry juice
1 liter of raspberry seltzer
1 bag of frozen mixed berries

 

Blackberry Pomegranate Cabernet Sangria

Makes about 1 gallon
2 750 ml bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup black berry brandy
1 quart pomegranate juice
1 quart cranberry juice
1 small container of pomegranate seeds
1 small container of fresh blackberries
.5 quart raspberry or pomegranate seltzer