Thanksgiving is America’s banquet. It’s one of the few completely American holidays, created from a history that only we share. It’s probably my favorite holiday of the year - I love all of the flavors and smells and the grand tradition of a large family meal. Everything feels more peaceful at Thanksgiving. It marks the end of a busy harvest season for me - a calm nostalgic pause before the inevitable commercial stress of the Christmas holidays.
So how was the 2011 vintage? We had a lot to overcome this past year – including the proud distinction of having an earthquake and a hurricane both in the same week! No year is ever easy, but the 2011 harvest for Bedell was a complete triumph. We have an outstanding vineyard team and I'm so proud to be working with them. The dedication that I see every day is unparalleled. The end result is that we have a cellar full of beautiful wines.
“How is the vintage?” “Are the grapes looking good this year?” “How’s the wine going to be?” As a winemaker, I appreciate getting asked questions like these over the course of the year. The wine culture on the North Fork is still relatively young and years ago, fewer people were as tuned into the local wine scene as they are today. But as many of us know, it’s a difficult question to answer, especially before the harvest is completed.
After many long days and nights our 2011 harvest finally came to a close on October 24th. As the last of the fruit was brought to the crush pad, our crew gathered for a ceremonial "thank you" to all who worked so hard to make this season a success! Here are a few highlights of our celebration - complete with some cold beer and sparklers! Making great wine is always a team effort and our Bedell crew is the best in the business. Happy 2011!
There has been a great deal written about the use of natural cork vs. screwcaps in the wine blogosphere lately – mostly by folks who only have the experience of pulling them out or twisting them off. Many people who come to Bedell ask me the question – “What’s the deal with screwcaps?” Others are concerned about cork and wonder about the environmental aspects of using them to bottle wine.
Every vineyard and wine cellar in the world generates its own serendipitous mix of micro flora, all of which can produce wines that are completely unique to the estate. The levels and ratios of native yeast populations are directly determined by the conditions present around them, resulting in an extremely localized evolution.
Indigenous, spontaneous, natural, aboriginal, feral, native, endemic, ambient, wild—no matter what you want to call them, the art of making wine without adding commercial yeasts is gaining favor in the United States. Of course, spontaneous fermentation is nothing new to the cellars of the Old World, where wine has been made with natural yeasts for thousands of years. Today, many of the world’s finest wines are still produced with native yeasts.
For those of you who have never been, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to visit and an oasis of nature in the middle of this bustling borough. Alongside the flowering cherries, peonies and bonsai displays - nestled in between Flatbush and Washington Avenues - the BBG has the country’s first Native Flora Garden. This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the garden and to honor this special event, BBG is offering guided tours with the curator. When my wife Nancy saw this she knew I would be first in line and signed us up. Luckily we had a beautiful day and the gardens were looking spectacular.
Being a winemaker for 30 years, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the soils of Long Island and how important they are in the production of quality wine. This post is the first in a series I'll be writing where I get down and dirty concerning the wonderful soils of Long Island. As you will see, it’s a fairly fertile topic...
Do you ever wonder if plants have feelings? Some people do. The idea that plants are capable of experiencing emotion was first recorded in 1848, when the German experimental psychologist Dr. Gustav Theodor Fechner suggested the idea in his book Nanna. Dr. Fechner believed that plants are capable of emotions, just like humans or animals, and that one could promote healthy growth by speaking to them with affection.
Most people understand the general concept of environmentalism and how it applies to the world around them. Lately, the recurring meme in the public consciousness revolves around “sustainability.” The question on a lot of people’s minds is, “what exactly does this mean?” Here’s a quick primer which I think will help.
There’s a lot of drama that takes place at a winery - of course I am talking about what happens outside. As each day of the growing season begins and ends, another act is played out – just one more installment in the ongoing saga of the vintage.
I really want to talk about is the 2010 vintage on the North Fork – a year that is already being touted as perhaps the best ever for Long Island wines. To me, the 2010 vintage doesn't follow the latter definition - this was a season that did not recall any other time and place that I can remember.
When I talk about wine, I often find myself making comparisons to the human condition. I've found that it’s often the best way to help people understand the "mysterious" topic of wine. The similarities are really quite striking.
Weather forecasts like the one we're seeing for this weekend always put a cold shiver down my spine. Yeah, it's going to be frigid but my chill comes from another time and place...The European varieties that we grow are somewhat sensitive to cold temperatures - which is why the North Fork of Long Island is so conducive to growing them successfully.
Let me just start off by saying that I hate the term “blog.” It’s a word that sounds like a description of something plodding or clumsy. Like someone stuck in a muddy field. I’ve been stuck in muddy fields so I know. I’d like to believe this little area of commentary is going to be something a little more – shall we say – elegant? Perhaps that is too much of a wine descriptor. Creative and thought-provoking but in particular – fun.