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Ravines Wine Cellars

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Ravines Wine Cellars Blog

Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars

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November 7, 2014 | Ravines ,

Finger Lakes Weather

There's a saying in the Finger Lakes:  "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes - it'll change."  Today's weather truly embodied that saying.  We had beautiful sunshine, followed by rain, followed by more sunshine, followed by snow showers.

Despite the vagaries of the day's weather, we have lavender blooming in front of our Keuka Lake tasting room, and the window boxes still have beautiful white petunia blossoms.  Stop by any day of the week between 10:00am and 5:00pm and check them out.  While you're there, taste some of our award-winning wines, including our two newest releases:  2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Cabernet Franc.

Time Posted: Nov 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM
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November 4, 2014 | Ravines ,

Yahoo! Recommends Riesling

Argetsinger Vineyard Dry RieslingRavines Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling is recommended by Yahoo!. The article, The 12 New Rules of Wine, states that "The best Rieslings might come from upstate New York, not Germany."

"...in New York’s Finger Lakes region, there’s more variety of soil types than anywhere else Riesling is grown...The minerality you find is more piercing." says Thomas Pastuszak, wine director at New York City’s NoMad Hotel. Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling is recommended "for one that's dry and fruity."  

The grapes for this wine all come from the Argetsinger vineyard. This site has soil rich in limestone, resulting in a wine that showcases the minerality that Pastuszak mentions. 

Time Posted: Nov 4, 2014 at 8:37 AM
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November 3, 2014 | Ravines ,

2014 Harvest - wrapping up

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!

Time Posted: Nov 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM
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November 1, 2014 | Ravines ,

Fermentation and the new 2011 Ravines Meritage

Harvest 2014 is almost over at Ravines.  Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are the last two grapes to be brought in, and we already have several stainless steel vats of each fermenting at Geneva.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc ferment in steel tanks

Fermentation
After the grapes are crushed, the combination of juice, seeds, and skins is called must.  The must is placed into fermentation tanks for anywhere from several days to several months, depending on the type of grape and the type of wine being made.  Leaving the juice in contact with the skins helps extract extra flavors and aromas that are not necessarily present in the juice alone.

For example, Ravines' Pinot Noir is left on the skins for three weeks.  The solids will naturally float to the top of the tanks, so we use two methods of mixing everything back up again:  punching down and pumping over.

Pumping over involves pumping the liquid at the bottom onto and over the solids floating at the top.  The grapes in the photo above have already received their first pumpovers.

Punching down involves pushing the skins back into the liquid.  This can be done mechanically or by hand;  we manually punch down our Pinot Noir twice a day.  Manual punch down is more time-consuming, but is also gentler and gives us more control.  In the glass, this gentle handwork translates into more delicate aromatics and layered, nuanced flavors.

2011 Meritage
These Cabernet grapes are used in making our Meritage. Our 2011 Meritage is newly released and is now available for tasting and purchase. This wine is an elegant Bordeaux-style blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with soft tannins and beautiful aromas of plum, cherry, French oak, and cloves. 

Check back here for more updates as the grapes from harvest continue their journey toward becoming the wine in your glass!

 

 

Time Posted: Nov 1, 2014 at 7:09 PM
Ravines ,
 
October 31, 2014 | Ravines ,

Behind the scenes at Ravines

Today we'd like to give you a peek behind the scenes at Ravines.

We have three interns working with us this year.  Guillaume Kieffer comes to us from Alsace and brings with him experience in cool-climate winemaking, and Ken Berard and Jordan Imm are both enrolled in the viticulture and winemaking programs at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC).  All three are getting a lot of hands-on experience (which means they get to do the dirty work).

Ravines Assistant Winemaker Darrin

Darrin Scott is our assistant winemaker, and he joined Ravines from Pennsylvania wine country earlier this year.  He spent this morning filtering lees by racking the wine (moving the wine from one barrel to another using gravity rather than a pump).

Ravines Winemaker Morten Hallgren checks tanksMorten Hallgren, Ravines' owner and winemaker, likely needs no introduction.  Today he checked on the fermenting Riesling in our Geneva winemaking facility.

In future posts, we'll continue to introduce you to the team responsible for creating and selling you our wines.

Time Posted: Oct 31, 2014 at 6:01 PM
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October 14, 2014 | Ravines ,

Harper's Bazaar Top 10 Winery to Visit

Harper's Bazaar has named Ravines Wine Cellars to their list of The Best Wineries to Visit this Fall. This list highlights top 10 picks for wineries in the U.S. chosen by Peter Eastlake, Food & Wine's 2013 Sommelier of the year.  

Ravines Wine Cellars tasting room in Geneva

Make Ravines a stop on your weekend getaway. Soak in the breathtaking views of hillside vineyards and fall foliage while you taste the wines that earned Ravines a place on Wine & Spirits' list of Top 100 Wineries of 2014 as well as a place on Wine Spectator's Top 100 list two times. These world class wines offer an alternative to sweeter styles that can help you enhance any meal while you avoid packing on the pounds this upcoming holiday season. 

Tasting room associate AmandaRavines has a focus on crafting fine, classically-styled dry wines. These food friendly wines pair perfectly with just about any dish, especially lighter options. Ravines Dry Riesling, for example, offers lean and clean flavors that perfectly complement dishes like sushi, grilled chicken, or salmon. 

Not only does this style of wine pair well with healthier dishes, dry wines are very low in sugar, making them lower in calories than their sweeter counterparts.  

Visit us at our Keuka Lake tasting room or Geneva winery & vineyards this fall. Taste and discover wines that will delight your palate and suit your lifestyle. Not able to make it to the Finger Lakes? Browse our selection online.  

 

Time Posted: Oct 14, 2014 at 11:42 AM
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October 13, 2014 | Ravines ,

2014 Harvest - Update

Winemaking intern moves Argetsinger Riesling into barrelsToday 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.

barrels and tanks for Argetsinger RieslingWinemaker 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!

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM
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October 6, 2014 | Ravines ,

2014 Harvest - Chardonnay

Chardonnay grapes in the vineyardToday 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.

Hand harvested Chardonnay grapes from the White Springs vineyardMorten 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.

The harvest crew destemming Vignoles grapes for Keuka Village WhiteWe'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!

Time Posted: Oct 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM
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October 1, 2014 | Ravines ,

2014 Harvest - Pinot Noir, part II

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...

Hand harvested Pinot Noir grapesThis 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.

Intern performing a pump over on Pinot Noir grapesAfter 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 and Pinot Noir 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!

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2014 at 7:45 PM
Ravines ,
 
October 1, 2014 | Ravines ,

2014 Harvest - Pinot Noir

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!

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2014 at 6:00 PM