Archive for June 2009
Last night I received the following comment to a video piece that we did commemorating the 10 year anniversary of Red Newt Cellars. It really has nothing to do with the video to which it was attached, but I didn’t want to just delete it. After all, whoever wrote this had something to say, and wanted it said in a public. So I have moved the comment here, on RedNewtWrite.com where there can be a venue for further conversation.
“Boycott Red Newt David Whiting has joined the initiative to shut down liquor stores and restrict your access to wine outside of supermarkets. Send the message to Mr Whiting that having access to a wide range of wines means more to the consumer that false promises by Wegmans to carry his low quality wine. Boycott RedNewt.”
So why did I get this message? I can only guess.
Many of you may be aware that there is currently legislation being considered that would change some of the laws that govern the sale of wine and liquor in New York state. The bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Morelle and is titled “The wine industry and liquor store revitalization act”. I think that it’s a good name. The changes proposed would, I believe, result in positive changes for many facets of the NY wine industy, and would generate significant economic benefit to the State of NY. If you are unsure of what the bill contains, or have only heard secondhand analysis, I suggest you read the bill yourself. You can download the entire bill, or a copy of the memorandum which covers the high points, by following this link.
So why boycott Red Newt? I have a clue.
Yesterday, I visited the Last Main Street Store Facebook Fan group. Following my post I received the following message: “We have removed your post and banned you from the Last Main Street Store Fan group. Falsifying who you are to stir up anger is not what the group is about. I suggest you display some professionalism and maturity in the future.” Following this were a couple private emails suggesting I stop, lest my business by hurt, culminated with the post I listed above.
So what did I post that was so unprofessional?
Alas, not being a paranoid person, I didn’t make a backup copy of my now deleted post. But it was something very close to this: “I own a small business in the NY wine industry. As a small business owner, I am constantly changing my business and marketing strategies in order to stay competitive. I think that strategic compromise on this issue is important for the health of the industry and for NY State. You can read the Morrelle bill at this link: http://nywia.com/web/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=19&Itemid=9”
Recently, the Last Store on Main Street Coalition claimed success with their New York Wine Month(s). Their press release claimed that the program “was a success, boosting sales of New York wines significantly and creating a stronger relationship between New York’s retailers and wineries.” While I question the success of the promotion, I do suggest that there be a thoughtful and sincere dialog of how best to change the industry and move forward.
I believe that there is a solution to this issue that can benefit all who are involved. But to arrive at this solution it is essential to be willing to discuss and consider views which differ from one’s own.
Have you seen this?
Come to Finger Lakes Wine Country this summer on a memorable roadtrip “in search of the perfect rosé” at one of the over 100 wineries in the region. Rosés are light, refreshing, and range in style from sweet to dry. These wines are perfect for summer enjoyment and we want you to help us find the perfect rosé.
Wow! That sounds like fun. Roses are cool. Roses are tasty. And roses are perfect for summer.
So, the next question is, “How many roses will you find in the Finger Lakes.” The answer is, “ A lot more than a few years ago.” It turns out that, as the popularity of imported rose wines increases (42% last year), domestic rose producers, including winemakers in the Finger Lakes, are getting excited about roses. And why not? Rose wines are fun to make and drink. They are great food wines, and an extremely satisfying alternative to a heavier red wine during the summer. In spite of the fact that I personally have not made a dry rose since 1992, I am very excited again about rose.
At Red Newt, we made a decision last fall to produce a small quantity of rose for the 2008 vintage. The varieties I chose to work with were Cabernet Franc and Syrah. There are different methods for creating a light red (pink?) wine from red grapes. One way is to crush the grapes into the red fermenter then, after a few hours, or days, drain off some of the juice which has absorbed some, but not all, of the color from the skins. The remainder of the juice and skins then continue on through the fermentation to become red wine. This is what we did with the Syrah portion of the 2008 Red Newt Rose. Another way is to crush the grapes, let them “steep” for a day or so, then press off the whole lot. This process actually gives a very different result in terms of juice chemistry and resulting wine structure and is generally a preferred approach to rose production. This is what we did with our 2008 Cabernet Franc Rose.
The final rose blend at Red Newt is 64% Cabernet Franc and 46% Syrah. It is dry, crisp and vibrant with cherry and strawberry fruit. I think that I had mentioned that the last commercial rose that I produced was sixteen years ago. So you may imagine how excited I feel to be in the rose saddle again. In a couple of months, I hope that you’ll share my excitement.
The Finger Lakes region is a region of change. In winemaking, as in life and business, it is essential to embrace the world around you, to recognize change and to evolve your focus and practices to move forward. The excitement and focus on Riesling that has been so intense in the past few years will grow and continue, but I predict that the excitement around rose will likewise rise to a fervor.