Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars
This year's harvest is done.
The last Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes came in from the vineyard yesterday, officially ending the 2014 harvest. The important work for the next month is now in the cellar. Winemaker/Oenologist Morten Hallgren is happy with this vintage. He said today, “I think people will be surprised by the quality of this vintage, despite the rainy summer. We enjoyed a warm Indian Summer in September that provided some beautiful late-season ripening.”
Check back in with us for more updates as we follow the grapes from the 2014 harvest on their journey from the vine to your glass!
Today at Ravines, we started moving pressed juice into barrels.
Riesling from the Argetsinger vineyard was moved into 10-year-old oak barrels. Using older barrels imparts as little oak aroma to the wine as possible while still allowing for aging and fermentation. Ravines has been using older oak barrels for our Argetsinger Riesling since 2010.
Winemaker Morten Hallgren says that the juice from the Argetsinger grapes will remain in barrels for around 6 months, or until sometime in April 2015. It will remain on the lees the entire time it is in the barrels. (Lees are yeast deposits left over from fermentation.) This aging on the lees, a process known as sur lie in French, allows the wine to accept all the aromas and flavor possible.
Morten said that the Riesling from the Argetsinger vineyard came in with a very low pH and approximately 9g/liter of acidity. This is likely due to the nature of Sam Argetsinger's vineyard, which is located in Hector on the southeastern side of Seneca Lake. This vineyard lies on a steep slope, allowing for good drainage; the Riesling vines are at the top of the hill. Seneca Lake's shape at that spot points the vineyard slightly north. The soil is Howard gravel over limestone bedrock, which accounts for the distinct minerality of the wines from this site. Sam's Riesling vines are among the oldest in the Finger Lakes.
Later today, Chardonnay from our 16 Falls vineyard in Lodi, NY will also be moved into barrels; the Chardonnay from our White Springs vineyard in Geneva will be moved into barrels tomorrow.
The Riesling harvest continues tomorrow at White Springs. Yesterday, 20 tons of beautiful Riesling grapes were brought in from the vineyard.
Check back here later in the week for more updates!
Today the Ravines team harvested Chardonnay at the White Springs vineyard in Geneva, NY.
Winemaker Morten Hallgren doesn't base his harvest schedule on numbers, as some other winemakers do. (For example, some winemakers will look at brix, which is the amount of sugars in the juice.) Morten makes his decisions on when to harvest based on several criteria, including the weather forecast and an overall impression of the fruit. For Chardonnay, he looks for a translucent quality to the grapes and whether the foliage has begun to change color.
Morten commented that this year's fruit looks "beautiful" and that the quality of this year's harvest is "above average"; he thinks the 2014 vintage is in the "top 20 percent" of all time.
The Ravines 2014 Chardonnay will be a blend of grapes. Most of the wine will be White Springs grapes, and some will be from the 16 Falls vineyard in Lodi, NY.
We're also harvesting grapes for the next vintage of our Keuka Village White blend. Keuka Village White is a fruity blend of Cayuga White and Vignoles; the Vignoles was harvested at White Springs last week.
Next to be harvested: Merlot and Gerwurztraminer.
Check back later for more posts from the 2014 harvest!
In our previous blog posting, we showed you some pictures and video from this morning's Pinot Noir harvest at the White Springs vineyard in Geneva, NY. Here are a few more images...
This year's fruit is beautifully clean and ripe. Since the grapes were hand-harvested, the grapes remained intact and we didn't lose any juice. There are four rows of Pinot Noir grapes in our Geneva vineyard - each row is over a half-mile long - and there were a lot of these bins with the fruit ready to be pressed.
After the grapes are crushed, the juice and skins are placed in large metal bins for three weeks. This contact between juice and skins allows us to extract all the flavors and aromas you have come to expect from Ravines Pinot Noir. Here, assistant winemaker Darrin Scott punches down the skins that have floated to the top of the juice. These grapes are from the 16 Falls vineyard in Lodi, NY.
Winemaker Morten Hallgren is thrilled with the quality of the 2014 Pinot Noir grapes. “Low yields in the vineyard insure perfect ripeness every year. It’s always a struggle to keep the fruit clean because of the disease pressure in the Finger Lakes, but if you work hard in the vineyard, you are rewarded with beautiful fruit.”
Stay tuned for more Harvest 2014 updates!
Well before 7:30am, vineyard crews were in our White Springs vineyard in Geneva harvesting Pinot Noir. Approximately 20 crew members hand-cut each cluster of grapes and gently placed them into plastic bins that will then be picked up and brought to the winemaking facility.
Pinot Noir from our 16 Falls vineyard near Lodi was delivered last week, as were Pinot Noir grapes from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard near Hector.
Hand picking is more expensive and time-consuming, but it's worth the extra effort because the grapes remain intact. Keeping the grapes pristine as long as possible keeps the juice from leaking out prematurely; gentle whole-cluster pressing in the membrane press is also critical to keeping the astringent quality of Ravines' Pinot Noir that you have come to know.
Once all the grapes are harvested, our vineyard manager Doug and his assistant Patrick pick up the bins and deliver them to the production facility:
Stay tuned for more Harvest 2014 updates throughout the next few weeks!
The 2014 harvest season has begun. This is a busy and exciting time of year as bunches on the vine begin their transformation into delicious wine. We're bringing you along for the ride, sharing photos of harvest and the wine making process.
Pictured left, winemaker Morten Hallgren collects Pinot samples for analysis to determine if they are ready for harvesting.
Morten loads Champagne clone Pinot Noir, beginning its journey to becoming dry rosé.
Harvest at Ravines is coming to a close this week, after being the earliest harvest on record, the final grapes - some beautiful Cabernet Franc - from the Hobbit Hollow Vineyard located on Skaneateles Lake, will arrive in the cellar tomorrow.
In spite of the unprecedented early start to the season, the quality of the grapes in the 2012 vintage has been remarkable. The white grapes were able to fully ripen while maintaining the bright acidity that the Finger Lakes region is so well known for. The red grapes hit sugar levels higher than we've ever seen before, with some of our Cabernet Franc coming in with Brix as high as 25. For the most part, the grapes retained a good acidity level, allowing the wines to retain an excellent balance to go along with ripe softer tannins and intense aromas.
The only Riesling that will be bottled as a single vineyard Riesling is the Argetsinger Riesling, whose grapes come exclusively from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard located on the southeast corner of Seneca Lake. Sam's vineyard is one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the Finger Lakes. The shallow, mineral-rich soils of the vineyard give the grapes a leaner fruit profile with more floral characteristics and focused minerality.
Fruit as unique as the grapes from Sam's vineyard require special treatment in the cellar. A portion of the wine is put into old, neutral French Oak barrels for fermentation and aging on the lees throughout the winter. Aging the Riesling in oak barrels softens the mouthfeel of the wine while making it structurally more complex. Winemaker Morten Hallgren has been utilizing this technique in the production of the Argetsinger Riesling since the 2010 vintage.
Believe it or not, Harvest 2012 is already underway. The 2012 vintage will be the earliest harvest in the Finger Lakes on record. An early bud break, a small crop, and a warm, sunny growing season have resulted in exceptional ripeness levels. The sunny, dry weather has given us clean fruit in pristine condition.
The first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our sparkling wine production were harvested last week from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard.
Expect to see a lot more from us this fall. We're looking forward to a fantastic vintage.