Courtyard Winery 2015 Chambourcin
As we approached Northeast, Pa. during our recent visit to the Lake Erie Wine Region we were greeted by the obligatory downpour. Luckily, it was brief and by the time we pulled into the parking lot of Courtyard Winery the skies had already begun to clear. I had never been to Courtyard and was eager to taste their wines. The tasting room was very well designed with two bars, one for sweet and the other for dry. The classically styled wine library is decorated with wine barrels and the walls are covered by racks of archived wines.
After tasting several of their dry Reds I decided on a wine that would be a perfect complement to picnic fare, Courtyard 2015 Chambourcin. This wine is barrel aged to help reduce the naturally high acidity of this grape. Courtyard 2015 Chambourcin is an easy drinking wine with red fruit flavors, light tannins and a smooth finish. Chambourcin pairs well with grilled meats or pasta with red sauce. The bright acidity and lighter body makes this Pa. Lake Erie wine similar to Pinot Noir in structure.
Lake Erie Wine Country stretches almost 50 miles along the southern shore of Lake Erie between Harborcreek, Pennsylvania and Silver Creek, New York. On your drive you will pass through the largest grape-growing territory outside of California and the 23 wineries that call it home. http://lakeeriewinecountry.org
Wine Library at Courtyard Winery
Wine Library at Courtyard Winery
Lake Erie Wine Country will be presenting its Wine & Cheese Weekend event the weekend of April 21-23, 2017. There will be twenty two wineries participating in this event. Tickets are only sold online and must be picked up at one of the six
Photo Courtesy: Lake Erie Wine Country
designated pick-up wineries along with your gift bag. Tickets will be available until Tuesday April, 18 at 10:00 a.m. A ticket allows you to visit all the wineries for food samples, each paired with a complementary wine. Also included is a $5 gift voucher, wine glass, booklet containing all the recipes of the food you’ll be tasting and additional tastings. The cheese for this event will be provided by sponsor Yancey’s Fancy. Event hours are Friday April, 21st 12-6pm, Saturday April, 22nd 10am-6pm and Sunday April, 23rd 10am-5pm. One regular $38 ticket is good for all three days. The Designated Driver ticket is $20 and includes everything for the purchaser as a regular ticket except the wine tastings plus the $5 voucher is included at no charge. Friday and Sunday “Only” tickets are $28 and have the same privileges as a regular ticket but can’t be used on Saturday. For more information and to buy tickets go to the event website: http://lakeeriewinecountry.org/events/4
Congratulations and Thank You to all the wineries that participated in this years competition. The entire palate of Pennsylvania wines that paint the portrait of this state’s evolving wine heritage were on display.
Double Gold: Best of Show Grape: Penns Woods Winery 2009 Cabernet Reserve . Double Gold: Best of Show Sweet/Dessert: Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery 2011 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine Gold: Best of Show Fruit: Starr Hill Vineyard & Winery 2013 Guilty Pleasure
Other local wineries that received medals in recognition for producing high quality wine were:
Fero Vineyards & Winery Double Gold: 2013 Grüner Veltliner Gold: 2013 Pinot Gris Silver: 2013 Pinot Noir and 2012 Riesling Bronze: 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling, NV Spiced Apple, NV Chocolate
Glades Pike Winery Gold: 2012 Petit Verdot Silver: 2013 Spiced Apple Bronze: 2014 Black & Blue, 2013 Noiret
Narcisi Winery Silver: 2013 Riesling Bronze: 2013 Rosabella, 2013 Noiret
The Vineyard at Hershey Bronze: 2013 Blackberry Portrait, 2013 Sweet Riesling, 2013 Pink Catawba, 2012 Merlot, 2013 Oaked Chardonnay
Christian W. Klay Winery Silver: 2013 Lavander Mist
For the complete list of medal winners at the largest indoor farm show in the U.S. just click the link. www.pennsylvaniawine.com/node/2372
Much of my childhood was spent growing up on my mother’s family farm just across the road from our house. Many of my relatives live nearby in houses built on land that was carved out of the original tract of land that my Grandfather began farming in the very early 1900’s. The number one lesson I learned about the agriculture business was that no
Winter in The Vineyard
matter how well prepared and thought out your plans were you are always at the mercy of Mother Nature. Whether it is corn, wheat or grapes you will always have to be able to cope with constant change and overwhelming problems or you will not succeed. The vintners in Southwestern and Northwestern Pennsylvania along with their counterparts in the Finger Lakes Region of New York are dealing with the effects of one of the coldest winters in recent memory. The real damage in Pennsylvania occurred in the Northwest , especially the area around Lake Erie, while the Southwest corner of the state received above average but manageable damage. I have talked with several winemakers about how this winter effected their vineyards and the following is a summary of what they told me.
Rich Ripepi of Ripepi Winery in Monongahela, Pa said that they were leaving on extra buds when they pruned to be safe but should have gotten through in “relatively” good shape. Ray Matthews, the vineyard manager at Christian W. Klay Winery in Chalk Hill, Pa is still accessing his vines but signs are good that the damage isn’t too severe. Ray told me of a study that he read that noted statistically a vineyard in the Northeast will be devastated on average once every ten years but he has been lucky to have been spared so far. Tod Manspeaker of Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery in Bedford, Pa grows only vinifera vines in his vineyard. Tod has observed that certain varieties have suffered more than others with the average bud loss in the 50% range. To compensate for the loss Tod is leaving secondary and tertiary buds by pruning less and leaving four canes instead of two. This makes more work this year and much more work next year to clean up but by doing this Tod is expecting a normal crop. Paul Vezzetti from The Vineyard at Hershey in Middletown, Pa tells me that South Central Pennsylvania was on the border of the coldest weather this winter. He attributes the many cultural practices implemented before their initial planting in 2009 for mitigating much of this years temperature issues. By postponing pruning until after the worst winter weather had passed Paul was able to adjust his pruning plan to compensate for any winter damage found in the vineyard. Paul also predicts that anyone that hasn’t been as fortunate as he was to experience only small losses can expect to face a substantial rise in cost when they have to buy grapes from another vineyard with whom they don’t already have an established relationship.
Marti Macinski of Standing Stone Winery & Vineyard in Hector, NY tells me the Finger Lakes Region was hit very hard with many vineyards losing 100% of this years crop. She is fortunate that her vineyard is on the southeastern shore of Seneca Lake and benefits from a temperature moderating effect that has led to the area being nicknamed the “Banana Belt”. The Standing Stone Vineyard has received some damage but the damage can be offset by leaving extra buds to produce a nearly normal crop. Marti has to wait until the growing season gets underway before she can tell if there is any vine damage.
Marti and all winemakers know that maintaining a vineyard can be a brutal and unforgiving undertaking but one that does come with great satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when everything goes right. I wish all the producers my very best and want them to know that I have the utmost respect for their perseverance and passion with which they pursue their craft.