Monday, April 29, 2013

Yadkin Valley AVA tour continued

On the second day we visited Elkin Creek winery.  Their wines were generally good.  My favorite was  Classico which is a red blend.  Unfortunately the Classico was sold out.  They had a few bottles left which they used in their tasting room but none to sell. 
An interesting tasting room which always adds to the experience

well tended vineyard and St. Francis watching over the vines

The rafters of the tasting room are supported by a central post.

view of the top part of the post showing how the rafters intersect

We had a cheese tray with a glass of wine at their covered outdoor dining area.
Pictured is a glass of very nice cab sauv the made from estate grown grapes

The next vineyard on the tour was Grassy Creek

The show/tasting room was impressively decorated

Lots of wine paraphernalia 

The owner was quite friendly.


 I thought that their white wines were quite good.  The Chardonnay was oaked just right and I did buy a bottle.
In downtown Elkin there was a winery named Slightly Off.  We could not resist that.
Turns out that the winery was run very much like Falderal Winery in Hendersonville.  They did not grow or even purchase grapes, rather they bought  juice and made the wine there in 5 gallon carboys.  Any oaking was done by adding oak chips to the carboys. My favorite wine there was a red blend called Roaring River Red.  Many of the wines were sweet, which is not to my liking.

 We finished the tour with a visit to Carolina Heritage Winery which was just outside Elkin
 A nice rustic Tasting Room

The grapes are organically grown,  which is one of the reasons we put this winery on our tour

Interesting trellising system

The winery was closed the day we showed up but the gentleman who owned the winery, and the store, and who worked the 15 acres of grapes and made the wine, was kind enough to let us in and give us a free tasting. He grew Chamborcine , Isabella, Muscadine, Traminette, and Norton grapes.  All of these grapes are disease resistant.  Nonetheless, he does have some problems with fungus pressure and this growing season he is experimenting with spraying with compost tea.  He says that he has only been in business for a few years and that the entire operation is a work in progress.
We had tasted Chamborcine wine at other places and were generally disappointed.  The Chamborcine here was excellent.  We bought some.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Yadkin Valley Winery Tour

Every year I hit about 6 to 8 wineries in the Yadkin valley area, spending a little time at each one, chatting with the owners and sampling their wares.  This year we were in the northwest part of that AVA.

First stop Thistle Meadow winery.

Thistle Meadow does not grow any grapes.  They are strictly a winery but they do use NC grapes for most of their wine.
Interesting clay beehive type storage rack.   The bottles are supposedly kept cooler in this.

I tried 6 different wines, mostly red and my favorite was the Air Bellows Red
It seemed like the others were too acidic for my taste

One winery I have been trying to visit for years is McRichie.
The building is not particularly imposing, certainly nothing like Shelton or Raffaldini but I think they might make the best wines in Yadkin Valley.
They had sold out of a lot of their red wines, ( a good sign) but I was able to taste a red blend called Ring of Fire, a very nice Chardonnay that was oaky but yummy, and a very nice rose.  I don't usually care for rose wine but this was so good that I bought a bottle.  Also bought the Chardonnay and a bottle of hard cider that they are now making.   

McRichie does grow their own grapes.  About 20 + acres worth. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

FBV April Meeting Minutes


The April meeting of the FBV was held at Bob Bowles place.  Many thanks to Bob for his


President’s report

 The meeting started with a discussion of the organization’s meeting night.  Pros and cons of meeting on Wednesday were mentioned. 

A motion was made and seconded that our meeting night be on the third Wednesday of each month unless it was convenient for the host to change the night to some other day of the week, and the officers approved the change.  The motion was voted on and it passed

Pete and Chuck and Alan discussed the possibility that our PR is not getting handled the way we would like and that this is part of the problem we are experiencing with classes and other FBV projects getting canceled for lack of participation. 

Alan suggested that we have a committee made of Bob, Chuck, Pete, Alan, and John meet to discuss ways of improving our communication with the community

For the good of the order

Several members attended a wine tasting clinic at Rafaldini winery.  The intent of the clinic was to identify wine flaws.  In conjunction with this the North Carolina Wine Growers Association is offering a sticker to put on bottles that do not have technical flaws to the effect that consumers will know that this is a fault free wine.  FBV feels that this may be misleading the consumer into thinking that the wine is therefore and excellent wine, when in fact it may not be.  There was some discussion about how our organization should react to this concern.  Pete suggested that we should bring our concerns to the NCWGA and ask them to review their evaluation process.  Chuck suggested we ramp up our evaluation process and issue local wine evaluations based on the 4 star system using our members as a sensory panel to issue the ratings.

Tom Mincarelli will organize a series of wine tasting and judging days that meet during the month on days that do not conflict with the organization meetings. At these meetings our members will taste, judge, and discuss different wines in order to sharpen evaluation skills. 

Educational component

Alan and Paul presented a sensory exercise related to wine evaluation.  Fifteen different aroma vials were passed around to the membership and each member was asked to identify the odor.  Correct answers were then provided and each member checked their own responses.  It was a fun drill that revealed just how difficult it is to identify aromas.  Judy won the contest guessing 7 out of 15 correctly.  Most scores were much lower.

JD feeling the spirit(s)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FBV Minutes for March Meeting 2013



Meeting place:  Falderal Winery 

Treasurer Report:  25 paid Members.

       Bio Network soon to join

        Our physical year runs from July 1 to July 30

         We discussed a dues policy to the effect that:

a.       Members joining the second half of the year only owe ½ dues

b.      Members joining the last two months join for free

c.       Guests may come to two meetings before they owe dues 

Presidents Report:

        Alan reported on his trip to Winery unlimited in Richmond.  Some of his findings were as follows:

a.       in the class on flavor development effects of yeast on reducing green pepper taste no results were discernable between the two strains of yeasts tested

b.      In studies on improving brix at harvest, only crop thinning seemed to have an effect

c.       Chromatographic checking of Malolactic acid sensitivity was best using methylene blue and methylene red indicators

d.      At harvest a chromatographic check of grapes to determine breakdown of acids could give wine maker information for treating grapes during fermentation 

The NC winegrowers association conducted a quality assurance panel April 2.  It was hoped that FBV members would attend and write a report on what they learned     Pete and Chuck said that they would attend 

Chuck affirmed that we need to have input on quality control of wines in WNC

Alan gave a grafting update:  There were 2390 grapes grafted.  They are growing and some shoots are 3 inches  

VP Public Relations Report : Chuck discussed efforts to publicize the forum April 6 at AB Tech
Pete relayed the bad news that it looked possible that not enough people would sign up for the forum to make a class.  He did state that the good news is that we are now organized and ready to do a presentation when the opportunity arises and that we will have another shot at making  a forum this coming fall. 

Old  Business:  We need to rank the top 5 tests we would like to have done at AB tech.  They will get the materials necessary for the tests.  We need to get a survey back quickly within one week. 

Advantage west is committed to supplying equipment for what our needs are as well so need identification is important 

New Business:

Tom Mincarelli is now the southeast distributor for Vinmetrica.  He carries chemicals and equipment for simple testing of SO2 both bound and free, and TA, and pH.   

It was suggested that we have members who attend conferences type up an educational report to distribute to the members at the next meeting, or put on the blog for all to read.  This in the interest of keeping the meetings shorter.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 17, 2013 FBV Meeting

Hello Vignerons, Vintners, and ALL~!!!~

Our April 17, 2013  (Wednesday) FBV meeting will be held at Bob Bowles Community Center in Barnardsville at 6:30 PM.

From Asheville Take 19-23 (or new I-26) north past Weaverville. Take the right onto exit 15 (197 Jupiter - Barnardsville) exit and take a right at the bottom of the ramp to Barnardsville (about 8 miles). 
In Barnardsville the Old Fire House is directly across from the Post Office. Meeting is upstairs, entrance on the side.

The April "Educational Session" will be: 
"Does Your Nose Know?" Identifying Common Wine Aromas. 

Our meetings are usually simple:
1- Business starts at ~ 6:45 PM.
2- Educational sessions are presented by a variety of experts usually in the wine and grape industry.
3- If you want a wine that you make or like to be evaluated or judged... bring some along with your favorite red or white wine glasses.
4- Pot-luck dinner is always optional if you want to stay and get to know us.

If you are not a FBV member you can still attend as a guest for two free meetings....hopefully you will want to join and become a FBV member!
Annual membership dues are only $25!

If you would like to host a meeting with the FBV at your location we would like to hear from you!

For more information or to make reservations/arrangements: 

Contact Chuck Blethen-VP of Public Relations @:  Chucks email

Cheers soon~!!!~ Tom Mincarelli