Sunday, April 15, 2018

2017 Riesling Clearing

I racked the Riesling over the weekend.  In some of the carboys, acid precipitated out, collecting at the bottom along with the spent yeast. The winery temperature sometimes drops into the low 40s during very cold times in the winter.  That plus the March snowstorm power outage may explain the acid precipitation, which I generally consider to have a positive effect on the wine.  Overall, I am pleased with the progress of the wine.   

Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 Riesling Begins Journey

I started primary fermentation of the 2017 Riesling on October 27.  That's about a week behind schedule.  The source grapes had a starting sugar of 20.3 degrees Brix, which I adjusted with dextrose to 23.5 degrees Brix.  The juice was just under 60 degrees F when I pitched the yeast.  Here's to a good year!


Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 Riesling and All-Wise Mead Tasting

The All-Wise crew made the trek from Brooklyn up to West Park, New York.  They're preparing to ramp up a commercial volume production of mead.  Mead is honey mixed with water and fermented with yeast. All-Wise brought a sample of their product, bottled on 9-11-17.  I was impressed.  My taste in wine tends to be on the dry side, with a preference for complexity over smoothness.  The mead was dry, but not overly dry.  I would compare it to a complex semi-dry wine.  The flavor also retained the yeast, which I understand is a hearty strain, able to ferment the more stubborn (as compared to wine grapes) honey sugar. The mead lends itself to sipping, with a natural peppery spice kick at the end.  Some people actually add pepper directly to the mead, though the guys told me they added no pepper to this batch. The mead smells great in the glass.  Mr. Sprouse recommended a glass with a narrowed flute to hold in the aroma.  It will be great to see how All-Wise develops their commercial product.  One intriguing aspect of mead is its versatility.  All-Wise seem willing to experiment, so mead fans may find something new each time they come back for more.

My fall ritual of beginning my primary Riesling fermentation is delayed a week due to abundant rainfall in the Finger Lakes.  It's a great time to taste my earlier vintages from years back to 2008.  I'm often pleasantly surprised when I open an old bottle.  Sometimes it just makes me remember something I did one time, and I am reminded to try it again.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Shier Winery Inks Alternating Proprietorship with All-Wise LLC

I'm excited to announce that Shier Winery (Mid Esopus Beverage Company LLC) has signed an Alternating Proprietorship Agreement with All-Wise LLC.

All-Wise is opening a meadery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NYC.  All-Wise is run by Dylan Sprouse, the youngest Master Brewer in the United States.

Please check out All-Wise at

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 Riesling Begins Fermentation

As another beautiful fall descends on Upstate New York, Riesling wine season begins anew.  I loaded the WinePod and pitched the yeast at a near-perfect 62 degrees F.  Over the next few weeks, the new wine will be born as the juice undergoes its primary fermentation.  Like 2014, I'm making a smaller production this year as I continue to refine the process.  The WinePod, with its antifreeze jacket lined stainless steel tank and temperature controller, does a great job of preventing the temperature running up during the initial yeast feeding frenzy.  I'm able to achieve a cooling in the larger 80 gallon Flex Tanks by using temperature controlled space heaters with built-in fans.  Only finished taste comparisons will tell if I am achieving the same results in both tanks.      

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cold Carboys and Clearing

I moved fourteen of the FlexTank 2013 vintage Riesling to cold storage for a few weeks.  These fourteen carboys contain wine fermented and cleared for six months in the FlexTank 80 gallon Dexter Tank.  It has not cleared like the batch from the WinePod, which I had transferred to Better Bottle carboys after three weeks.  I might attribute darker hue to extra oxygen permeation through the FlexTank, but the color in the fourteen carboys is not much darker than the WinePod originated carboys. 

I added bentonite to all the 2013 carboys and the WinePod (non-FlexTank batch) cleared on one racking.  I also tried adding a little Polyclar to a few of the FlexTank carboys, which lightened them, but did not aid much in clearing.  I am hoping the winter cold will do the trick.

Taking a look at the 2014 carboys, the color is much lighter than any of the 2013 vintage.  This is owing to less oxygen in the starting juice.  Since taste complexity is a big part of making a good Riesling, the extra oxygenation at the start isn't always a bad thing, but it does leave less room for error during the winemaking process. 

The 2012 and 2013 grape juice was very similar in starting color, with 2013 just a little darker.  2014 is much lighter and brighter, perhaps the lightest hue since 2009.  In fact, I was so fooled by lighter hue in 2009 that I bottled some of the Riesling early, mistaking the transparency and perceived clarity for the absence of yeast.  I ended up with a sparkling Riesling. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Progress on 2014 Riesling

After two weeks, fermentation is proceeding slowly.  I racked the wine, and then measured and drank a glass.  At 12 degrees Brix, it tasted more sweet than a typical mimosa. 


The temperature in the tank was 63 degrees F.  That's about perfect for a very slow Riesling fermentation.