Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blooms in the Vineyard

This is bloom season in the vineyard, where all the grapes-to-be are clusters of flowers. They aren't showy- you could never tell from the road what was happening. But up close it looks really wonderful, full of promise of a great harvest. You can even catch the fragrance, which is pretty unusual for grapes. The vineyard is really at its best this time of year, with everything lush and green. And our canopy management has never been better- just look at those well-trained vines!

May has been a very busy but very fun month at Grace Hill Winery. We started off with the release party. No, actually, we started with putting up the tent. It went up surprisingly well, and worked great! It even came down easily at the right time, which was a relief. The tent really added something to the night of the release party, since it was a little breezy. It gave the sensation of being protected while right in the middle of the vineyard- just what we were hoping for. We can't wait to use it again! And we had a great group of people out for the party, where the V was a big hit, as was the Prairie Pink.

Then we had the Rotary Ann group out for a tour and tasting. They seemed to really enjoy it, and the vineyard was once again gorgeous.

That Sunday night we had our wine dinner at Reba's restaurant. The food was excellent, and we continue to learn more about the things that pair well with our wines. For example, the appetizer was a ricotta toast with truffle oil, which went really well with the Seyval. I wouldn't have guessed that would have worked like it did. And we were concerned that the mint in the lamb sauce would fight with the Barrel 10 Chambourcin, but actually it worked great! We were fairly certain the strawberry cake would pair well with the Prairie Pink, and we were right.

And then our next big milestone, not a winery but a family thing, was Brian's graduation from Grinnell College. We are very proud of him. (Don't ask us what he's going to do next, because he hasn't said yet.) Shannon has been great at covering the winery while we have been gone.

So now we will be nurturing the vines to get them ready for harvest this August and September. There are lots of other fun things coming up, like the opportunity for people to blend their own wines, and then harvest. And we need to do some bottling to clear out space in the tanks and barrels for the 2010 vintage. There is always something to do at Grace Hill Winery!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spicy Artichoke Dip Recipe

The Spicy Artichoke Dip was a big hit at the Grace Hill Winery Spring Release Party, so courtesy of the Women Of Great Taste cookbook compiled by The Junior League of Wichita, here is the recipe:

Spicy Artichoke Dip

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Puree all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Spread mixture in a shallow 9 inch baking dish. Bake uncovered until lightly browned on top, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve with lavosh crackers or tortilla chips.