With the 2010 vintage – the 30th anniversary of Bedell Cellars – we have begun a brand a new tradition, one which brings us together in ways that only the North Fork can. Last Friday, as the remnants of Hurricane Earl swirled out to sea, our Bedell family gathered together for a small ceremony to begin the starter fermentation yeast culture for the 2010 vintage. Everyone at Bedell brought a natural object from the North Fork that was near and dear to them. Some people brought grapes from the vineyard, others brought oyster and scallop shells from the beach. Some brought flowers from their garden or wild fruits like beach plums and rose hips, collected from North Fork beaches. Ninah and Michael Lynne contributed an apple from their garden.
With rain and wind swirling around us (in a counter-clockwise direction) we gathered around a small 6 gallon glass carboy of freshly pressed Chardonnay juice and, after a short speech by our winemaker, we each placed our small offering into the jug. Once everything was added, we topped it off with splashes of water from three important bodies of water: the Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and Cayuga Lake (since three of Bedell’s employees went to Cornell, which overlooks Cayuga). Once completed, the carboy was sealed with a beet grown in our own Bedell employee communal garden. The beet fit perfectly on top and still allowed for C02 to escape when fermentation began.
After three days the culture started to ferment and the aromas are spectacular: lavender, herbs, apples and fresh bread are all evident as the indigenous yeasts begin to grow. Soon we will start adding this yeast culture to all of our wines as we begin the very special journey of the 2010 harvest.
Locus vinum est veritas!