» Summer 2016
A Mighty Oak Sacrificed for a Noble Cause
All of our varietals and blends are estate grown and bottled, but the 2014 Chardonnay may be the product most connected to the land of Sheldrake Point. The oak used to flavor this wine came from a white oak tree that grew on our property.
The tree was huge, 40 inches in diameter, as wide as it was tall because nothing obstructed its growth for 200 years. But, it grew on the edge of our first Riesling block, shading half an acre and making it hard to manage botrytis. Dave Wiemann, vineyard manager, made plans to cut it down, with much regret. He says, “I thought to myself, Wow, we’re going to take down this beautiful tree because it’s growing in the wrong place.”
That was in 2009. The branches of the oak were cut for firewood, and the trunk was saved without a plan beyond milling into lumber for a future project. Then Peter DeVivi, our woodcutter and a Waterloo-based wood industry expert, asked, “Why not use your own wood to flavor your wine?” Making the Chardonnay with our own Sheldrake Point-grown oak was a unique prospect. The oak was of the same terroir, and using it in the wine connects the vineyard with our winemaking in a way that, to our knowledge, no other Finger Lakes winery has done. And, we knew Peter was experienced at making oak staves.
First, Peter cut the fourton trunk into planks and set them out to season on his Waterloo property. This controlled decomposition went on for two years, and the planks were flipped twice a year for equal moisture exposure. “We were waiting for a specific fungus to grow and metabolize, changing the chemistry of the wood,” says Dave W.
Peter then textured the planks to expose the end grain. The planks were toasted to our specifications, to volatize and release the flavors that penetrate the wine. Using oak in the production of Sheldrake Point Chardonnay has a varied history. There were years we didn’t oak at all, years we aged the Chardonnay in oak barrels, and years we used staves made by Peter from New York Stategrown oak.
The 2014 Chardonnay is our first wine oaked with the Sheldrake Point oak tree. “The flavor is grassy and herbal, which I rather enjoy, more like a Sauvignon Blanc,” says Dave Breeden, our winemaker. Our 2015 Chardonnay, which is not yet bottled, was also made with the Sheldrake Point oak tree, but the flavor is presenting very differently. Someday, these Chardonnays will make for an interesting vertical tasting.
There will be more Sheldrake Point oaked wines to come. Peter has many more planks seasoning in his field, and Dave B. envisions possibly using the staves in aging the Cabernet Franc before blending.
Oak staves are one-time-use for winemaking, but there is one more life left after we pull them from the tanks: our winemakers pass the spent staves on to friends at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg for their use in smoking local meats.
Though the oak tree was growing in the wrong place in the vineyard, it was growing in the right place for our wine.
The 2014 Chardonnay is available now, made with estate-grown grapes and oak.
Welcome Kyle Anne Pallischeck, Marketing and Sales Manager
The Finger Lakes wine industry is often thought of as one big extended family, ‘related’ through wine and a common love of the region. In fact, it is a Finger Lakes wine sisterhood of sorts that brought Kyle Anne Pallischeck, our new Marketing and Sales Manager, to Sheldrake Point.
Kyle, a Finger Lakes native, spent four years at Fox Run Vineyards as manager of their Tasting Room and Café & Market, overlapping time with Whitney Elrod and Julia Hoyle, who are now Sheldrake Point’s Wine Club Manager and Assistant Winemaker, respectively.
“I had the opportunity to sit with the winemakers and really pick their brains; it was total immersion,” says Kyle of her time at Fox Run and, previously, Prejean. “Then I went out to the tasting room to share all those insights and advocate for the wine.”
Kyle has been an advocate for Sheldrake Point wine well before she joined our staff. The Sheldrake Point Dry Rosé was the first Finger Lakes dry rosé she ever tried, about five years ago. “For me, it set the bar for every other Finger Lakes rosé,” she says. “The Sheldrake Point Dry Rosé is a universal wine, and I have no fear of opening a bottle wherever I am, with whatever I’m eating, and in any company.”
Kyle has an A.A.S. in Hospitality Management from SUNY Morrisville, a Bachelor’s in Interior Design from the University of Akron, and her Sommelier Certification earned via the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is a founding board member of Women for WineSense of the Finger Lakes, and teaches wine education classes at NYWCC. After a stint with the Seneca Lake Winery Association, Kyle joined Sheldrake Point in March.
AIDS Ride for Life
In addition to sharing a love for wine, many of us at Sheldrake Point are also seasoned cyclists and veterans of Finger Lakes bicycle tours. This year, we are proud to support the 2016 AIDS Ride for Life. The 100 mile ride around Cayuga Lake takes place September 10 and benefits the Ithaca/ Southern Tier AIDS Program by raising money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Sheldrake Point Winery team includes Chuck Tauck, Owner; David Wiemann, Vineyard Manager; and Whitney Elrod, Wine Club Manager. This will be the third AIDS Ride for Life for both Chuck and Dave, and Whitney’s fourth.
Want to cycle around Cayuga Lake and support the 2016 AIDS Ride for Life? Join our team! Contact Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-532-.9401.
Visit our event calendar page for details.
July 2 – 2 to 5 p.m.
Linabelle Bluegrass Band
July 9 – 2 to 5 p.m.
July 16 – 2 to 5 p.m.
July 23 – 2 to 5 p.m.
July 30 – Closed
Winery is Closed
August 6 – 1 to 4 p.m.
Scott B. Adams
August 6 – 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Wine Club Dinner
August 13 – 2 to 5 p.m.
August 20 – 2 to 5 p.m.
August 27 – 2 to 5 p.m.
Zydeco Trail Riders
In the Glass
Uniquely flavored with staves from a white oak on the edge of the vineyard, this elegant estate Chardonnay will delight you with its fresh finesse and finish.
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Foodies, rejoice! Risotto, a classic Italian comfort food, is the basis for this decadent crowd-pleaser. When fried, the risotto balls resemble “little oranges” (“arancini”). Make as a savory appetizer for a group, or as an indulgent dinner for two. White wine is traditionally used in making risotto, and our 2014read more»