Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brix Fermentation Curve for 2011 Finger Lakes Riesling

The number one search that brings viewers to the Shier Winery blog is "brix fermentation curve."  One of the great benefits of the WinePod is the real-time sugar sensor.  Similar charts available in books and journals are nearly all made with discrete measurements taken throughout the fermentation process using a hyrdrometer. The real-time sensor shows the value to temperature control on the fermentation process.  Fermentation without temperature control results in increasing temperature at the outset (fermentation is exothermic), followed by a temperature drop once the bulk of the sugar has been consumed.  With temperature control, you see a relatively stable temperature and a more gradual sugar consumption (brix curve).    

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winery Approved after Public Hearing!

The public hearing took place on Thursday.  There were no objections and the Shier Winery was given full site plan approval.  With the final piece in place, it is time to submit the application to the New York State Liquor Authority for the Farm Winery License.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Keuka Lake Grapes

Alicia and I made a trip up to Penn Yan, New York this weekend for the grape harvest.  The rainy summer took its toll on the sugar content of the grapes.  Following last year's spectacular 23+ starting Brix, this year's Riesling was 18.4.  Back at the Shier, I added 8.25 lbs of dextrose (pure corn sugar) to 15.25 gallons of juice.  After adding the sugar, the Winepod's hydrometer read a Brix of 21.4.  The wine is not going to be sweet this year, but the juice is perfect for drinking.  I would drink Riesling juice every day if it could stay this fresh.
I also picked up 5 gallons of Traminette, a hybrid created with Gew├╝rztraminer.  The Brix on the Traminette was only 16, so I added 3 lbs of dextrose before pitching the yeast.

The Shier Winery made the newspaper this week with an announcement for Thursday's public hearing.  Let's hope the town is behind us.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Big Step Towards Licensing for Winery

On Thursday, the Esopus Town Planning Board gave conditional approval to the site plan for the Shier Winery.  I must thank surveyor and map creator Bert Winne, from Ashokan, New York.  Bert went out of his way to survey the property for a reduced rate and build a great map complete with 10 foot interval topographical lines.  A public hearing is scheduled for October 27th.  If there are no objections from the townfolk, it will be on to the New York State Liquor Authority to seek approval on the Farm Winery License.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mid Summer Light in Mid Esopus

The vines are in a constant battle for sunlight with the surrounding forest.
42/109 have reached the top wires. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Riesling Vines on Wires

This is the sun sweetspot.  The vines have grown faster in these two rows than all others.

Bob McCrindle built a cool trellis doorway out of cedar at the bottom of the hill.  Over time, we will cover the trellis in flowering vines.

View from Floyd Ackert Road, showing the full hillside.

Monday, May 30, 2011

91 Degrees Today and Vines are Rolling

We had a visit from old friends from San Diego, Todd and Laurel Twemlow. Todd helped to put up some additional wire and lay plastic for the newer vines.
 The tallest vine reaches nearly 6 feet.
The art of carving in fallen tree trunks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let Sleeping Vines Lie

As the vines approach the end of their first year...
The buds are ready to burst any day now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Not Drink From The Bottom Of The Barrel?

Budweiser runs ads on the 4 and 5 trains in New York touting its beechwood aging.  Beechwood chips are placed in the beer tanks for three weeks, which the ad states is "expensive."  It is, however, cheaper than aging Budweiser in old Kentucky beechwood barrels.  Wood chip aging is also much faster than waiting for a barrel to impart the same flavor.  I use toasted french oak chips in the Riesling, aging for two weeks.  The chips cost about $15 for a 10 pound bag (which are advertised for BBQing).  I tried toasting a little natural oak from trees cut down to make room for the grape vines, but my effort was not worth the result.  There are a number of oak species, some good for winemaking and others good for making poison.     

Why shouldn't you drink from the bottom of the barrel?

The yeast and spent oak chips make for a nasty brew.