Saturday, November 28, 2009

We had a great Thanksgiving, and hope you did too!

Things have definitely slowed down at the winery, and we are entering the quiet time of year. The vines are dormant and it's too soon to prune, so there isn't much to do outside. The weather has been gorgeous lately, though, so we have enjoyed some opportunities for outside clean up around the property. And the vineyard was perfect for a post-Thanksgiving stroll.

There are still inside tasks to be done, but most of the 2009 wines are just resting and aging at the moment, so even that is slower. As the holidays approach with their tendency toward busyness, it's nice that some things have quieted.

We are in the midst of planning for the next year though. The grape and wine meetings will start right after Christmas, and we are getting our orders ready for supplies and all. We ordered replacement grape vines months ago, though they won't ship until April. I think we'll only be planting about 30 vines this year, rather than hundreds like years past.

The spice wine has been a big hit in the tasting room, which has been a lot of fun. And our newest gift idea is an opportunity for a private tour with barrel tasting. So come by and get the details!

Monday, November 9, 2009

That's right, Toto. We weren't in Kansas anymore. And yet...

Once harvest was done at Grace Hill Winery, and all the wines were put to bed, we took a vacation. We went to France, where tradition reigns supreme in the vineyards. It was beautiful there, even if the weather didn't cooperate. (It was cool and misty, so the pictures don't do justice to the brilliant hillsides. It was not unpleasant.) They trellis differently, and their vineyard soil is very different in places, but vineyards still look like vineyards wherever they are.

Harvest was over there as well, and in Burgundy they are already starting to prune the vines. They burn the clippings right in the field, something I had read about but hadn't seen before. I had suggested it to Dave one cold day here, but he wasn't up for that.

We thought it was awfully early to be pruning, since we don't prune until spring. And a winemaker we talked to in Volnay agreed. He still thinks February is the proper month to prune. However, it was fun to see the over the row tractors in the tiny fields with stone walls all around. Fall is also wall repair season there, one chore we don't have.

We had a great time seeing the vineyards and trying the wines at the local cooperatives. It's different there, in that the wineries are generally in town, not adjacent to the vineyards like they are in this country. We found the people to be warm and helpful, in spite of our very limited French. I would go back in a heartbeat.

But we're home now, and are trying to get ready for the holidays here. We have lots of wine this year, and hope we have lots of chances to share it with friends, family and guests at the winery. Our hot spiced wine has been very popular so far, and the 2008 White Barrel Reserve is tasting really good right now. (The reds are good now too- don't think I'm not happy with them at the moment. I've just really enjoyed the white lately.)

The wines are available at the winery, which is now open Fridays as well as Saturdays, 1-5. They are also at Jacobs Liquor, ABC Discount Wine and Liquor and Groves Liquor stores in Wichita, as well as Newton Discount Liquor.

And if you didn't see our article in the November Splurge Magazine, look for it!