I can't help...falling in love...with you! (sung in dog howls) It's true! I love people! It's one of the few things in life that make me immensely happy, besides dog treats, belly rubs, and naps. I can't ever get enough attention and I'll make sure you know it when you're visiting BMV.
February is the month of love. Now, now...don't be so jaded. I know some of you are rolling your eyes. You hate Valentine's Day and the commercial sappiness. To you, it's just another holiday. While traditionally that may be the case, maybe try thinking about it this way...Valentine's Day is truly about love, and I'm not talking just romantic love. It's deep friendship, or playful, or affection, or selfless love. It doesn't have to just be a spouse or significant other, either. It can be a friend, a co-worker, a child, someone down on their luck, a stranger, someone different than you, an enemy. Love can take many forms.
The times we live in are extremely difficult, and many people live in great need. We do not know what the future holds for any of us. In today's world it is essential that here and there rays of light and hope continue to shine. All the world’s people, whatever their beliefs, are part of the same family. We all have the same general needs, problems, desires, and dreams. When we embrace the possibility of pure love, we are expressing, amidst our differences, a unity of purpose, a common hope. What better vision can we have right now in today's world?
While I promote sharing love all year round, why not use February to share love with everyone? Change the idea of romantic love, to love for humankind. Bring a friend on a weekend to our winery in February and share a cupcake or handmade truffles with a glass of wine. Help someone in need. Offer a smile to a stranger. Listen with open ears and hearts to someone different than you. Give an encouraging word to a child. Praise a co-worker. Scratch behind the ears of a dog (hint, hint).
Let go of the idea that Valentine's Day is only for romantic love and embrace a love that's bigger than yourself. Being a dog, I already do.
Love & Sloppy Kisses,
Can you believe the holidays are coming? There are only 51 days, 10 hours, and 53 minutes until Christmas. Not that I'm counting or anything! But the thought of a juicy dog bone on Christmas morning always gives me the wiggles.
We were excited to have a visit from Mr. Stuart Pigott, international wine critic, author of "The Best White Wine On Earth: Riesling," and founder of Rockstars of Wine America, yesterday. It was quite the honor that I got a belly rub by the man himself. He's visiting Pennsylvania wineries right now, tasting the wines along the way, and ending eventually with a group discussion on Friday of Pennsylvania's lack of wine identity and how to change that. Joe and Mr. Pigott were two peas in a pod...brothers from another mother! Oh, I guess I should mention that he loved our wines, although I was more focused on the belly rub.
Our next two big events are German Night, coming up on November 12th, and Comedy Night on November 11th. We only have 20 more tickets available for German Night! We also have a Ladies Night: Sip N Shop coming up on November 18th where the ladies can shop artisan gifts, listen to live music by Ryan Conrad, sip wine, and munch on snacks. You can buy your tickets here for all events.
Oh, oh, I must tell you! We are releasing a NEW WINE this weekend! It's a Sparkling Peach, retail $24.50. Absolutely delicious and perfect for those who like a little sweetness to their bubbles. It's been a long time coming and we're excited that it's finally here! The boys are putting the labels on it as we speak. For those that prefer a drier, more traditional Champagne, definitely check out our Brut Reserve. It's a blend of the best of the best of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Divinely creamy. I think they're perfect for the coming holiday season. Both our available in our online store, as well as at all of our locations starting this weekend. Sign up for our emails (see the top of the website at the black bar) to know when we'll have a special Sparkling Wine tasting weekend coming soon!
As always, I hope you stop in to visit me! I think our new tagline is becoming "Come for the dog, stay for the wine."
It’s been a busy few weeks! Harvest is almost officially over. We are picking the last of the grapes tomorrow at our Leaser Lake Vineyard in Kempton, PA. It was a lot of hard work for me laying around out there in the hot sun and rainy days! But somebody has to provide the moral support and a cute guy like me is good at that job. I’m sure I’m not as tired as those who were actually harvesting the grapes, though. The grapes look good and Dad (Joe, winemaker) is pleased with the results.
Oh, and I’m happy to report that my health has significantly improved! Thank you to everyone for all the good vibes and healing energy. It’s really helped and meant a lot to all of us. My family was pretty shook up over the whole ordeal. Me, too! My back legs still get the better of me sometimes, especially on stairs, and if I play too rough, but overall, I’m quite happy and healthy. I have to stay on medication most likely for the rest of my life, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to still enjoy everyone’s company and yummy treats. I’m a sucker for a good belly rub and a dog bone.
The leaves are changing, the weather is cooler, but the deck is still open to view the beautiful fall foliage. It’s the perfect time to bring a picnic, have a glass of wine, and lounge on the deck taking in the view. Most likely I’ll lounge with you, too, especially if you have food (that I’m not supposed to have, but who will tell? Not me!).
I have to tell you some fun news! We have a new tasting option at the winery! Our normal tasting is $5.00 per person for 5 tastes of wine of your choice and the $5.00 is credited towards a wine bottle purchase. Now, you can opt to pay $7.50 per person for 5 tastes of wine of your choice, AND receive a full-size stemless BMV logo souvenir glass to keep, plus you still get $5.00 credited towards a wine bottle purchase. Pretty cool, huh?
I’m excited to welcome two new sales staff, Rob Jacobus and Tacy Schuler to BMV full-time! I adore them, and I hope you do, too! Make sure to say hi if you see them. Rob is often at Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tacy is frequently at the winery on the weekends, but you will see her out and about more soon!
Let’s see…what else should I tell you about at BMV? Kat Collins, our Social Media & Office Manager, was recently interviewed by the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail for their blog. Check it out here!
We have several more festivals to go before the end of the year…Bear Creek Harvest Festival, Montage Mountain Festival, Cider & Wine Festival at Coca-Cola Park, and more! Say hi to Virgil Cardamone if you see him at the festivals. He’s always rockin’ it out there for us and much beloved by our customers and me.
I also should tell you the October is International Merlot Month! As you know, we at BMV LOVE Merlot. It’s one one of the first 5 types of grapes that we planted when we started in 1986 and now one of our signature wines. Our current vintage, the 2011 Merlot, is an elegant, Old World style merlot that has rich black cherry notes, earthy, and spicy aromas and flavors with a long, supple finish. Dad says it’s complex, but approachable. Got a juicy steak or cheesesteak? You’ll want this wine. Celebrate Merlot with us! Post your pictures of our BMV Merlot and tag us in them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Use the hashtags #MerlotMe and #bmvlove.
Well, I could ramble forever…I’ll save some stuff for my next post. I hope to see all of you at BMV soon! Don’t forget to bring me a dog treat. I’ll be your friend for life. Okay…I’ll be your friend regardless, but the dog treats help.
It’s that time of year where harvest is starting to take place at Blue Mountain Vineyards! Tomorrow, we pick our first grapes for Harvest 2016! We’re starting with Vignoles, then on to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It’s back-breaking work as we harvest all of our grapes by hand on over 50 acres. Harvest usually takes about 6-8 weeks as the different grapes ripen at different times. In the Northern Hemisphere, harvest is usually between August and October.
Ask any vintner what the most important day of the year is and he will say harvest day. An entire year’s work comes down to the grapes’ ripeness on that one day, for the winemaker has to harvest when they have the ideal sugar content – not too sweet, not too sour; the perfect pH – not too acidic, not too tannic; and the maximum flavor development for the varietal – not vegetal, not sickly sweet.
One of the questions we asked the most is “How do we know the grapes are ready to be picked?” There are technical ways such as measuring sugar, acid, and tannin levels with equipment, such as a refractometer. But with many years of experience, Joe, the winemaker, also knows by the color, feel, and taste of the grape.
COLOR: Ripe grapes have a rich color, changing from green to near-blue purple, deep red, or crisp white, depending on the varietal, as they ripen.
FEEL: Ripe grapes lose a bit of firmness when they ripen, and pop with juice when squeezed. Unripe grapes usually shrivel softly and dribble juice when squeezed.
TASTE: Ripe grapes have developed their full varietal flavor – the flavor the varietal is known for – when they are ready to harvest. For instance, when you taste a ripe chardonnay grape, you experience crisp melon, grass, and a touch of lemon. An unripe chardonnay grape, however, might taste a bit acidic, lightly sour, or overly tannic from underdeveloped sugar content.
The date of harvest is rarely ever the same from one year to the next, so winegrowers must call it as best they can. Pick too early, and tannins may be “green,” or bitter and underdeveloped. Pick too late and, along with the rising risk of fall rain or hail destroying the crop, the sugar levels may get too high, resulting in a flabby, unbalanced wine.
Finally, the style of wine being made also influences the time of harvest. In sparkling wines, high acidity is desirable, so the harvest is early. In dessert wines, by contrast, it’s the sugar that counts and, thus, a late harvest.
Okay…enough with this. Let’s get picking!
It's been a busy time in the vineyard! We've finished pruning/training, moving around a ton of dirt and wood (take a look at the top of the hill when you visit...it's wide open space now for future expansion of the vineyard and more parking), and finishing up planting new grapevines in the vineyard. Every year during early Spring, we plant new grapevines to expand our 50 acre vineyard, as well as to replace dead vines or vines that aren't doing well. During the past few weeks we have planted more Merlot, Pinot Noir, Vidal, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. It's a long and arduous process with lots of bending and digging. While we have an auger that can drill a hole into the ground, it still requires using good old-fashioned shovel digging to finish the job for the holes. Fingers crossed the the rain holds out for the weekend, we should be done planting by Monday or Tuesday! You can see in the pictures how much work the guys put in during planting time, and the budding on the vines.
We experienced bud break around mid to late April and now we're in the real growing season. It's been a good start so far, although we could use a few dry, sunny days. It was a mild winter, and thankfully, even during the few frosty nights a couple of weeks ago that gave us some sleepless nights, we didn't experience too much frost damage. Soon the buds will start to flower and the grape clusters will begin to grow.
Visit us at the vineyard throughout the summer, so you can see the different stages of grape growth! As the days warm up, our outdoor deck is open for picnics paired with your favorite glass or bottle of wine. Of course, I'll be here looking for attention as always...and maybe a milkbone treat or two. Oh! Oh! Oh! I can't forget that Sangria weekends start in June! Check out our Events Page to see what's coming to BMV this summer.
I hope to see you soon!
Happy Sipping! Love, Vidal