Success of the Apple Hill Farmers (and the Impacts)

 

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As most of you probably already know, this group of small farmers known as the Apple Hill Growers attracts a huge amount of agri-tourists (people interested in apples, wine, apple pies, Christmas trees, blueberries…essentially anything grown on the land) to our region. In fact, this area is the largest agritourism draw in the United States, getting somewhere near 750,000 people eating caramel apples, drinking wine, and choosing pumpkins each year.

You most probably also know that the majority of these tourists come and visit during the fall harvest season. Not only is there fresh fruit picked straight off the tree during this time, but the fall colors can be spectacular. Although the popular ‘harvest season’ starts in late August and finishes in December, the focus for many agri-tourists is October. Continue reading

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A Glimpse Into Our Bordeaux Cruise

As many of you know, we’ve traveled to France quite a bit (probably more than our fair share). But when it comes to Bordeaux, we’ve only experienced this region through wine, not physically on the ground. That’s why traveling and tasting through Bordeaux was our #1 choice with a river cruise.

If you’re on the fence about traveling to France (maybe you don’t like amazing food, or maybe incredible wines just aren’t your cup of tea, or maybe industrial parks are more to your liking than century-old villages), I thought I’d give you all a bit more food for thought about this cruise.

St. Emilion vineyard and medieval ruinLet’s start with an introduction to one of the villages we’ll be experiencing…Saint Émilion.

Situated on a hilltop, St.-Emilion was designated in 1999 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This charming village is the heart of the Libournais district; gratifying to the eyes and the palette with its world-class wines and gastronomy.

Located on the right bank of the river Dordogne, Saint-Émilion is a must-see medieval attraction. Intriguing Romanesque architecture and ruins are abundant here. The village’s namesake is from an 8th century Benedictine monk who made his home in a nearby forest.  Take the opportunity to visit the Monolithic Church, the oldest of its kind in Europe, and the Roi Tower, which dates back to the 13th century.  Continue reading

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Lackolacktochardtonitis and Madroña’s 2017 Signature Chardonnay

2017 Chardonnay - SignatureHave you ever heard of the physical condition Lackochardtonitis? We hadn’t until about 2014 when the number of cases we saw in the tasting room sky-rocketed. The really worrisome development, however, is when Lackochardtonitis morphs into Lackolactochardtonitis, and this is exactly what we experienced in 2015 during the drought years.

Both Lackochardtonitis and Lackolactochardtonitis exhibit the same symptoms: sweaty palms, dryness in the mouth, a smacking in the lips and a general sense of confusion when told we’re sold out of Ch

ardonnay. The difference between the conditions is that Lackolactochardtonitis comes with more disbelief and a ‘hair-pulling-out tendency’ of frustration by customers when there is no Signature Chardonnay available. Continue reading

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Kick-off Harvest Dinner 2018

August 25th
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Join us for a beautiful evening in the vineyard as we celebrate the start of Harvest.  A relaxed evening with a scrumptious BBQ dinner, the sounds of the Doubleshots, and beautiful views of the vineyard.  Listen to the dulcet tones of Paul as he waxes and wanes over the challenges and rewards of the 2018 growing season, as well as the what we are looking forward to for the harvest.

Tickets are $65/person $60/club members.  Tickets are available online or by calling the winery.

Menu

Appetizers
Mexican Corn Bruchetta
Red Pepper Hummus with Tri-Colored Chips
Olive Tapenade

Dinner
BBQ Ribs with wine-infused BBQ Sauce
Green Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad
Mustard Tarragon Potato Salad
Garlic Bread

Dessert
Frank Vitt’s Walnut Brownies

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A Bordeaux Opportunity

Chateau Kirwan 1996 labelEven if you don’t happen to be going on the cruise to Bordeaux with us this November, I hope you don’t mind hearing a bit more about it all. The fact is, I get quite a few questions about the tour while in the tasting room. Ironically, one of the questions I get directed to me as the winemaker is, “What is your responsibility on cruise?”

OK, so here’s the deal. I wouldn’t really call it a “responsibility,” but instead an “opportunity.” When we signed up to host the cruise to Bordeaux, we chose this region (rather than The Danube or Paris or…) partly because we make so many different Bordeaux varieties. But the other reason was that this is a region we wanted to learn a lot more about.

So here comes the “opportunity” as I see it. With the hosting of the cruise, we have been asked to conduct three seminars and host a wine dinner. This is one of those unique opportunities where we get to learn, teach, experience and have fun all at the time. Continue reading

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“Seriously, why are you farming organically?”

I thought this would be a question we’d be getting all the time. Yes, it’s more expensive. Yes, the vineyards have more weeds. Yes, we have to worry about weather patterns a bit more. No, I can’t tell anyone that you can taste the difference.  So naturally, from a purely American business point of view of maximizing profits, I thought we’d be constantly answering why we chose to jump off the cliff and choose a natural way of farming.

Ironically, all we really hear is, “Good for you!”

DSC_8751As I’ve mentioned before, spring is the time of year when I, myself, question the whole organic notion in our vineyards. Our farming life has enough stresses and strains to worry about that adding in just one more thing, farming naturally, really can put me over the edge. The biggest concern this time of the year is weeds!

Recently as I drove down the road, heading into some of the most beautiful wine regions of California, I truly envied the pristine aspects of their vineyards. The vines were immaculately pruned, mustard flowering in the rows, and not a single weed under the vines. It’s a picture-perfect scene. Continue reading

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A Bordeaux Cruise Update

Madroña Vineyards 2018 River Cruise
A TASTE OF BORDEAUX
Cruise Only: November 15-22, 2018
Paris Pre-Cruise Tour + Loire Valley Post Cruise Tour: November 13-25, 2018

Maggie & Paul

Have you made your plans to join us for this outstanding River Cruise yet?  Our Madroña is now 32 people strong!  NOTE: November is off-season, usually with mild weather in southwest France. There is now a $1,000 per cabin ($500 per person) discount for our Madroña group.  You must book through our tour operator Expanding Horizons to be part of the Madroña Vineyards Group.

Are there any singles out there wanting to go?  We have had a lovely club member inquire if there were others who might want to share a room?  Let us know and we will introduce you!

Here are some highlights that the tour company has provided us.  I wish I could write about these places intimately, but there are places we have yet to explore in our personal travels.  But we are certainly excited by what it planned!

 PAUILLAC – GRAND CRU TASTINGS

Day 3 of our Madrona Bordeaux Rivers Cruise visits Pauillac, in the heart of the Medoc region, home to 60 Grand Cru vineyards. Continue reading

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