» Fall 2015
Our Vines to Your Wines: What it Means to be Estate Grown
Ten grape varieties growing on 44 acres provide Sheldrake Point with all of the grapes for our estate bottled wines, a distinction we note in our mission statement and on our bottle labels. With the exception of our Ice Apple Wine (the apples for this are grown by Cornell University), all wines at Sheldrake Point are estate bottled.
However, we don’t get to arbitrarily call our wines estate bottled. The U.S. government, through the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), sets specific requirements regarding wine labels, including use of the word “estate.”
“Estate bottled” means:
- The winery listed on the label owns or controls 100 percent of the grapes that went into the bottle;
- The wine was crushed, fermented, finished, aged, and bottled all in the same place; and
- That place has to be located in the same AVA (American Viticultural Area) stated on the label.
“Estate Grown” or “Estate Bottled” is the unique representation of the winery’s property, the vineyard management, and the winemaker’s skill and vision. The perception about estate bottled wine is that the extra effort we put into maintaining our vineyard and the risks we assume by nurturing the operation from planting to bud break to bottling make for a superior product.
One example of this care is our newest varietal: Muscat Ottonel. This grape prefers a cool-climate, and is widely planted in Alsace, France, though the wines are not typically imported into the U.S. We planted one row of Muscat back in 2007 as a test, and during our last harvest, winemakers Dave Breeden and Julia Hoyle decided to shepherd the fruit through a five day cold soak method, to amp up the aromatic properties like a Gewürztraminer. “I wanted to work with the Muscat as soon as I found out we had it in the vineyard,” says Julia, who had sampled the varietal on her European travels.
Dave is also enthusiastic about this new addition to the lineup, since we are the only winery on Cayuga Lake producing a medium dry Muscat.
We look forward to making a lot more in the coming years, thanks to 500 new Muscat vines planted on half an acre in our vineyard this past June. Dave Wiemann, vineyard manager, positioned the plants just up the hill from our Gamay 2 block. “This upper part of our vineyard has proven to be great for white grapes—it’s very fertile and consistently watered,” he explains.
Some of these new Muscat vines will bear fruit by next year (about a half ton) and within 5 years we will be able to increase the production of our newest estate bottled wine from 20 cases to over 200 cases.
“Estate bottled is an expression of the fullest level of involvement a winemaker can have with a winery’s products,” says Dave Breeden. Without a doubt, our estate bottled wine is made with tender loving care, and the product in the bottle is a true reflection of our commitment to the terroir, the art and expertise of our vineyard and winemaking teams, and the annual vagaries of Mother Nature.
Wine Club Dinner Recap
The Sheldrake Point Winery annual wine club dinner and pairing event took place on the perfect summer evening of July 25, 2015. We hosted 67 guests for Chef Lerman’s menu resplendent of the season’s bounty, paired with estate wines from our cellar.
Chilled lemony peach soup with raspberry swirl and fresh mint paired with our 2014 Dry Riesling.
Baby arugula with grilled cauliflower, sautéed chick peas, diced avocados, and sweet red peppers tossed in Chef Lerman’s Red Wine Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing paired with our 2014 Pinot Gris.
Fresh Atlantic salmon baked in pastry crust with buckwheat, leeks, and mushrooms, served with a dilled remoulade sauce paired with our 2014 Gamay Noir.
Crown rack of pork stuffed with apples and glazed with Chef Lerman’s Grape-Pumpkin Spice sauce paired with our 2013 Riesling or 2014 Gamay Noir.
Late Harvest Gewürztraminer trifle bowl, a selection of chocolates, coffee paired with our Late Harvest Gewürztraminer.
“The ambiance, the warm greeting and your introduction to our group were outstanding! The menu and food were superb as was the wine accompanying each course. It was obvious much thought and consideration was put into the planning and execution of such a wonderful evening.” – Barbara Davie, Wine Club Member
Changing Hats at Sheldrake Point
Working at Sheldrake Point Winery always means wearing many hats. Owners Chuck Tauck and Fran Littin can often be found weeding gardens, and just about every employee has been recruited for a bottling session at one time or another, in addition to regular daily duties. Sometimes even those hats change.
We are Happy to Announce
Rusty Hamilton has taken over as Tasting Room Manager. You may have met Rusty in the tasting room, where he has often planned and led group tastings, or you may know Rusty from his stint as Wine Club Manager earlier this year. Please say hello to Rusty next time you stop in, and be sure to contact him if you’re planning a special group tasting!
Whitney Elrod has taken over as Wine Club Manager. Whitney started in our tasting room this past spring and is an Ithaca native and graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She has traveled and worked in several renowned wine regions including Washington State, Sonoma County of California, and the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Whitney has a level 2 WSET certification. Check our blog for more about Whitney!
As summer edges toward fall, the heat of the waning sun gives way to the welcome snap of cool evenings around the table. Toast both seasons with our 2014 Muscat Ottonel, alongside a platter of these delectable and easy to make skewers—great for an appetizer, or in lieu of dessert!read more»