As many of you know, we have our Annual Candlelight Barrel Tasting coming up this Saturday, April 8, 2017, (with only a very few spots left!). We only host the event once a year and it sells out every time. I thought it would be a good idea to share with you what a Barrel tasting is all about!
What is a Barrel Tasting event?
It’s when you join the winemaker in the cellar for a bit of discourse on the winery, on the relative merits of past and current vintages and for a tasty preview of what is to come, right out of the barrel where it is aging. If you like what you taste, you are able to purchase a case or more at a reduced price, not ever available again on those select wines, now and pick it up about 1 year later when it’s bottled. Not only is it a deeper way of learning about the wine and winery, it’s an investment into the future of local wine, farming, and the winery.
Why do we host a Barrel Tasting event?
We’ve been hosting Barrel Tastings since the early 90’s. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our loyal customers who have been with us since the beginning and introducing new people to BMV. It’s a chance for us to show you what we’re all about, a way to present to you who we are. People who buy “futures” of the wine get a steep discount. It’s a good incentive for them because they won’t get these wines at this price when we bottle, so for the consumer it’s a good deal. For us, it’s cash up front which is an investment on the customer’s part that enables us to continue to produce and farm quality wine. It’s good for everyone!
How does it work?
Each hour, on the hour, a group that reserved that time slot, heads down to the cellar. The winemaker, Joe Greff, takes a few ounces of the wine from the barrels and pours it into your logo souvenir wine glass, all the while explaining the grape, the blend, the location of the vines, the age of the vines, extraction, concentration, the criteria for creating a high quality wine and more. It’s a 45-minute foray that takes us deeper into the wine-making process.
Depending on what you ask, you may learn how Joe, and the assistant winemaker, Matt Milkovits, sit down and create the blends, or the choice to leave it 100% varietal and not blend. You might learn that there are 295 bottles per barrel; and in the cellar you are surrounded by 28 wine barrels or about 688 future cases. You might learn the role of Cabernet Franc in blends or which wines are wines to age or any number of interesting things. You may learn that the 2016 vintage may be an excellent year, particularly for reds. And you might end up buying a case of wine that will be ready the following year. Most of all you will have fun while drinking good wine.
We host the Candlelight Barrel Tasting every year, once a year, in April. You get to try select wines from the past year’s harvest (for example, this year we are tasting the 2016 harvest). The cost this year is $29.50/person (free for Wine Club members) which includes live music, barrel tasting, regular wine tasting at the bar, souvenir glass, and an antipasto reception catered by the Culinary Experience Catering. We encourage guests to hang out and enjoy the live music and bring food to munch on if they want. Wine is available to purchase by glass or bottle for their imbibing pleasure and to go home. I really hope to see you there! You don’t want to miss this rare moment to invest in the future of BMV and to score some delicious high quality wine for yourself (or others if you like to share).
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!