Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Riesling Brix Fermentation Curves

The yeast continues to consume the remaining sugars.  I put together a chart of the sugar content in degrees Brix for comparison to the pre-commercial productions using the WinePod.  The sugar drop matches very well to those curves from 2008-2011, which I have published on this blog.

The above data give me some confidence that I will be able to maintain the same high quality I acheived with the short runs.

The four FlexTank production tanks after the first racking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Commercial Run

This is it.  Time to get serious.  This is the year that I go from producing 20 gallons to 320 gallons of Riesling.  With the license in hand, I am pressing ahead with four - eighty gallon tanks.  Innoculation with D47 yeast began on Tuesday morning, October 16 at 7 am.  The Riesling juice Brix was 20.6, a full degree higher than last year.  I added enough sugar to bring the primary fermentation starting point to 23.1 degrees Brix.

I am maintaining fermentation temperature control in the mid to low 60s with two Vornado TVH600 Whole Room Vortex Heaters with automatic climate control.  During primary fermentation, I am also running a 160cfm FANTECH exhaust fan with a fresh air intake motorized operating damper.  A rigid metal duct located one foot from the floor pulls the CO2 from the fermentation room and expels it to the rear of the winery.  Fresh air is poured in by twin overhead ducts located six inches from the ceiling.

After one week, fermentation is proceeding beautifully.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Farm Winery License Granted to Shier Winery

Effective July 13, 2012, the Shier Winery is licensed by the State of New York.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Conditional Approval

The New York State Liquor Authority granted a Conditional Approval to the Shier Winery for its NYS Farm Winery License.  The final step to obtain the license is to submit photos of the operational winery and proof of workers compensation and disability coverage or a (CE-200) certificate stating that such coverage is not required.  In the case of the Shier Winery, coverage is not required because it has no employees other than myself as the sole owner and LLC member.  I submitted the certificate last week and uploaded these photos today to show that the winery is ready to operate. 

Exterior Shot
Facing the Glass Cage.  Outside the cage is the bonded winery area.  Inside the cage is not considered a part of the licensed winery.  The area inside the glass cage can contain personal property.
The double doors. The Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax is prominently displayed to the upper right of the entrance.
A view of the tanks through the single door.
The tanks. 
I purchased five (5) eighty (80) gallon FlexTanks.  Four will produce wine, while the fifth will be used to change out when racking the wine off the sediment.
The well pump, sink basin, and sump pump and drain.  To the upper right, I sealed off the non-bonded winery area using a plexiglass shield.
View from the north end of the vineyard.
View from the south end of the vineyard.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Working the Vines

I cleared the deficiency letter, despite the letter having the wrong address and never having been delivered to me.  After nearly two months of waiting for a response from the NYSLA, I called and found out about the letter.  The department faxed me a copy, which included relatively minor requests.  Now I'm waiting on final approval from the licensing board.  In the meantime, with all of the rain  in New York, the grass was growing out of control in the vineyard. 
I worked on the grass for a few hours to try to get it back in shape.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fingerprinted for License

I was fingerprinted today by L-1 Enrollment Services in connection with the background check for the liquor license.  The last time I was fingerprinted was in California when obtaining my real estate license in 1998.  Back then I went to the police station in San Diego.  The cops used black ink and pushed my hand with quite a bit of force to make the marks on the card.  It's been 14 years, and nowadays the process is electronic with a scanner and not nearly as hostile.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Piece By Piece

I stopped by Home Depot and picked up two 36 x 72 inch plexi-glass sheets.  After some trial and error on the jigsaw, I managed to build this:
It is a splash guard for the electrical panel.  What a challenge cutting that door!  I am going to mount the box from the two beams directly above the electrical panel.

Heckeroth Plumbing installed this double-wide wash basin sink with sump pump.  The hot water hose for rinsing the fermentation tanks is sitting in the left basin.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pending at New York State Liquor Authority

I am happy to announce that the Shier Winery license application is now pending before the New York State Liquor Authority.  Unfortunately, they've misspelled the name of Shier Winery as "Sheir Winery."  I'm told that no one gets through without a deficiency notice, so I look forward to being told what is missing or incorrect in the application.  The submitted application, by the way, was as thick as a phone book.

Below is a link to the NYSLA License search tool.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Building the Factory Floor

As the Shier Winery becomes licensed, its time to plumb the lines and get the physical plant in order.  Sickler's Glass in Ulster Park, New York will be installing 86 inch high by 1/2 inch thick tempered glass panels that will enclose the bonded winery area, excluding any personal property of yours truly.  To prepare for fermentation tanks, plumbing modification are needed so I can rinse and drain the tanks.  A double-wide wash basin and pump will provide for drainage.   An overhead spigot will provide for spray hose connections above the tanks.

Before installation of water line, drain pump and wash basin.

The Shier lab before installation of tempered glass.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Shier Winery Approved at Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

Earlier today, I received an email with the following message, "This is to advise you that the status of your Permits Online application ... has changed to Approved."  Hooray!  That means the Shier Winery is now approved at both the local level (Town of Esopus) and the federal level (Federal Basic Permit).  It is time to move on to the last leg in the winery approval process, ie., the New York State Liquor Authority.  The NYSLA does not have an electronic application system, so I'll need to prepare 40+ pages of printed material including color photographs, surety bonds, and the like.  It's good to have some momentum.
Below is a link to the TTB's website:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oak Tacular

I added oak chips to the Riesling carboys.  The chips will sink over the next week or so, and then I'll rack the wine off the chips. 
In addition to oaking the Riesling, I racked the traminette carboy.  Traminette does not lend itself to the addition of oak, which can cover its perfumed bouquet.  The traminette started out a paler shade than the Riesling but has darkened slightly over the past two months. 

I also tasted a small amount of my concord wine, bulk aged to 14 months.  I can't remember the last time I tried a sample, but it was probably last spring.  I remember it being harsh like mouthwash.  Today, I was blown away by the improvement.  It doesn't have the body of an old world red wine, but it was semi-dry with a sweet concord smell, and just enough acidity to make the flavors pop out.  Drinking this, I have no idea how Manischewitz can call itself concord wine.  Come next Thanksgiving I'd bet this wine is superb.