Spring Has Sprung at Shelburne Vineyard

  Spring has certainly sprung at Shelburne Vineyard, and our vines are LOVING this pre-summer heat! Not a month ago, the sun was out, but our vines were bare, and now they’re rapidly bursting with life. While we’re not a fan of global warming, there’s definitely something to be said about the heightened temperatures and the amazing plant growth we’ve seen.  The stunning greenery around the vineyard this time of year has us excited for the summer months to come, and for all the great events outside that come with it!

   This year, the risk for disease has been especially low due to the unusually hot and dry weather we’ve been having.  This has helped to keep those pesky fungi out of our vineyards, because contrary to popular belief, they’re not actually the “funnest of guys” when it comes to grape growth. This weather has also been wonderfully supportive of grape blossoming and actually better for pollination overall.  The recent lack of moisture has meant less of a chance for rain to wash the pollen from the blooms, resulting in major self-pollination and some happy winemakers, as we should hopefully see a more bountiful fruiting!

   So what else is new since we were last seen shaking in our boots harvesting ice wine? Well, this weather has been so nice that we’ve been busy planning tons of outside events. There is of course our ever-popular Bluegrass & BBQ event series, our First Thursday Concert Series continuing, and now Lawn Game Nights, a new addition to our list of free outdoor public events. We can’t wait to have people join us on the lawn in this beautiful weather for food, fun, and most importantly wine! We will also be installing a new and improved outdoor bar for a more enhanced tasting experience. Whether you’re coming in for an evening event, or a mid-day tasting you can enjoy the scenic outdoor setting of our vineyard and grounds.

  Breakout your shades and Sangria recipes, Summer is right around the corner and we, including the vines, are more than ready for it!

Wine Appétit: Drunken Pasta

 I’m sure most of you know, not only can you pair wine with food, but you can cook some pretty amazing meals with it too.  We’re testing out any and all wine-infused recipes that grab our attention and we can’t wait to start sharing them with you! One of the first recipes we tried on this quest for wine-soaked goodness is a Drunken Pasta with walnuts and parsley that is sweet and savory in all the right ways.  Read below for guidelines and instructions, we couldn’t keep this recipe to ourselves ;).

wine and pasta

wine and pasta

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 3 1/4 cups Marquette
  • Salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Image source google images

Image source google images

How to make this recipe

  1. In a saucepan, combine the water with 3 cups of Marquette and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pasta and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, 2 minutes. Add the parsley, nuts, the 1/2 cup of cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and toss. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve, passing grated cheese at the table.
finished dish

finished dish

Wow, let me tell you, I could have eaten the whole thing….okay, I did eat the whole thing.  This was a great recipe to start out the segment and trust me, it will be our pleasure to test and share more with you. Check out the video shared by Food & Wine where we discovered this gem of a recipe. Wine Appétit!

Authored By: Beth Abbott

Have a wine dish to share with us? Email abbottbethanie@gmail.com to submit your recipes

and for the chance to be featured in Wine Appétit!  

Humans of the Vine: Winter Work

   For those of you who think we only brave the cold once a winter for our Ice Wine...think again.  Our staff works all winter long tending to the vines and prepping for the warmer months.  Whether it's in the winery or among the vines, our staff are facing some chilly temperatures to keep the operation going.

winter vine and vineyard

winter vine and vineyard

    While only a small portion of our outside work in the winter is harvesting grapes for Ice Wine, a larger ongoing portion of our work is dedicated to pruning.  Pruning involves cutting back the previous year's fruiting cane on the grapevines so that healthy new shoots can grow for fruit production.  Essentially, without proper pruning we wouldn't have grapes, and without grapes, we wouldn't have wine!  I shudder at the thought! Since pruning is an essential part of vine care and maintenance, that means we have to consistently send our crew out to complete this process, regardless of the frigid temperatures and conditions.

pruning outside blog

pruning outside blog

       Not only when they're out among the vines, but even in our winery this time of year, the wine-making crew can be exposed to below average temperatures.  The wine being made does best in 50-60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for stability and to prevent premature aging.  Therefore, the thermostat must remain within that range, meaning working inside even requires thermal layers. But we certainly wouldn’t force our crew to work in the cold without providing boot warmers and plenty of hot coffee to keep them going.

boot & winery

boot & winery

     Winter work at the vineyard isn't always for the faint of heart. A lot of frosty faces, chapped lips, and icy hands go into making what we do here possible, and we wouldn't be here without all of their hard work.  Ice Wine harvest is all fun and games compared to the other, sometimes grueling, winter work that our crew is oh so familiar with this time of year.

snow footprints

snow footprints

Authored By: Beth Abbott

Humans of the Vine: Ice Wine

      Leave the grapes on the vine they say...let them freeze for a while they say...they'll make delicious wine they say.

How right they are!

frozen grapes

frozen grapes

It's Ice Wine season around these parts and we couldn't wait to get our hands on those delicious frozen berries.  Ice Wine is something we've been producing here for a while given our uniquely frigid climate. Our Vermont grown Ice Wine is made primarily from Vidal Blanc grapes, field blended with a small amount of Arctic Riesling.  Although, I'll let you in on a little secret, we will be harvesting some Marquette grapes to use for a separate Ice Wine this year!

Ice-wine blog photo

Ice-wine blog photo

We sent out a crew of staff and community members at the break of dawn on a frigid 12 ̊ Fahrenheit morning for harvest. The stems on the grapes are so brittle when frozen that the crew used an interesting technique of shaking the vines to release the grapes.  Once the grapes fell into the netting, it was opened, and the grapes dropped to fill the bins below.  Ice wine harvest is quick work as we want to make sure the grapes don't warm up too much in the process!

What's so special about these grapes anyway, besides the fact that they are frozen? Well, due to the extended period of ripening, the frozen grapes harvested for Ice Wine have a much higher sugar content making them perfect for dessert wine! This sugar content is measured in units called Brix. This year the juice we harvested immediately from the frozen grapes held about 42 brix, we expect that the finished product will contain a residual sugar content between 20-23 brix.  In case you don't know, that's some sweet wine considering our other, more typical wine only has 1-3% residual sugar! Not only does the sweetness make it special, but the sheer amount of grapes it takes to produce juice from frozen grapes is about 20% more than normal grape harvest.  Out of the 1.6 tons of Ice Wine grapes harvested this year, we were able to yield only 184 gallons of juice.

ice wine and glass

ice wine and glass

          According to our head winemaker Ethan, it's looking like a good year for Ice Wine! He says a great ripening season, which isn't always achieved, allowed for an excellent development of flavor and aroma that will surely shine through in each bottle.

  Authored By: Beth Abbott

Sip Into Fall with Apple Cider Sangria

Worried your summer sangria-sipping days are over now that Pumpkin Spice has made its seasonal appearance.  No need to fear as we’ve recently concocted an autumnal sangria that’ll knock the socks off any year-round wine lover. Using fresh Fall ingredients including local Shelburne Orchards apple cider, Artesano Vermont honey, and of course, our very own Shelburne Vineyard Wine you too can create the deliciousness that is Apple Cider Sangria.

cidercocktail
cidercocktail

 Ingredients:            

-1 Bottle Shelburne Vineyard Lakeview White          - 3 Cups Shelburne Orchard’s Apple cider (or ginger cider)            -2 Cinnamon sticks  

-1 Cup Sparkling water        -1/2-1 cup Smugglers Notch vodka                  -1 tbsp Artesano pure raw Vermont Honey

-2 Shelburne orchard apples, chopped                -1/2 tsp cinnamon                -1 orange, chopped               -1/4 cup pomegranate (optional)        

Optional: Use Shelburne Orchard’s Ginger Cider in place of regular for a little ginger kick!

Instructions:

  1. Chop Shelburne Orchard apples and orange and place in the bottom of a pitcher with pomegranates.
  2. Add in cinnamon sticks, Shelburne Vineyard Lake View White, cinnamon, and raw Artesano honey- stir.
  3. Add in vodka,  start with 1/2 cup, mix and taste- add more or adjust as desired.
  4. Right before serving add 1 cup sparkling water to keep the bubbles fresh.
  5. Serve with ice!
Apples on Left, Pitcher and glasses on right, courtesy of http://www.personalcreations.com/  

Apples on Left, Pitcher and glasses on right, courtesy of http://www.personalcreations.com/  

Notes:

-Best if left to sit and soak for a couple hours in the fridge, we did 2-3 hours and it turned out fabulous!

-Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks or orange slices if desired and even throw in a little nutmeg if you’re really feeling wild.

Authored By: Beth Abbott