Thirst Wine Merchants

For my retail shop visit, I went to Thirst Wine Merchants on Green Ave in Brooklyn, New York. The place is under a little area so it is not noticeable if you are not paying attention. While entering the shop there is nothing exciting or eye-catching about it. The shop gets straight to the point by only having the wine and county it is from. There are little paintings around. This store looked like a place you go to just pick up a bottle of wine you already knew and then going home. The set up of the store was plain. 

Red from Spain

A pro to this retail shop was the willingness of the worker that was present. He was the only person working in the shop at the time of my arrival. I explained to him what I was doing and he already had an idea because he stated a few of my classmates had come by there already. I asked for all the things I needed and he was able to help in the best way he could. 

While asking about the shelf talker, there was no luck because they did not do those at that location. If you were not a worker in the store or someone who knew what wine they preferred or studied then it would be very hard to maneuver around this shop. The only labeling was the numbers on the bottles, the name or the bottle, and the country above it to distinguish between the wines. The stands the wines were put in hard no writing. In my opinion, when you go into a place like that you would expect writing on the shelf. The first place you are looking is down by the wine not above your head, which is where the countries were.

Sparkling from Italy

Austria is a country located in Central Europe. Most of the wines coming from this country are from white grape varieties.

Red from Austria

At the end of my self-tour, the worker was polite and asked if I needed any more help or had any more questions. 


A Visit to Kings County Distillery

For my Visit assignment, I decided to go to a distillery. The distillery I visit is The King’s County Distillery. It is located in Brooklyn, NY in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is New York’s oldest, largest, and premier whiskey distillery. This place was founded in 2010. It is known for its handmade moonshine, bourbon, and other whiskeys. The grain used to make their product is corn from the New York area. They use traditional and old distilling techniques along with traditional equipment to make their unique products. They have won awards like the “Distillery of the year 2016.” 

The process used to make the products at the Kings County Distillery


The products that come from this facility are mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged in their location then sound onsite in their waiting bar area. This facility used pot stills for their production.

The first distillation process

The mashing process done in this machine is not that of mashing like potatoes but extracting the juices and sugar from the corn. 

The fermentation process for this is done in large wooden barrels or crates. The yeast is poured on top of the juices and then after the yeast is poured on it is automatically a spirit. It just has to continue to ferment until that process is over. 

The final step before the whiskey is tasted and transported to bottles to age

Charred oak barrels for aging the whiskey. The barrels are made from English wood and only new barrels are used for aging

The second distillation process help takes off this blue substance that is left in the liquor after it is mashed and goes through the first distillation process. This is also when some of the congeners were removed. 

The oak barrels along with aging help give the product its distinct color and enhances the aromas. 

From this facility, the product is 80% corn and 20% English barley. It goes through a 2 step distillation then aged in new charred oak barrels, never used barrels. New barrels are used over old barrels to prevent the flavors of old products interfering with the brand new product. The aromas and taste of the products are strong with rich caramel, spices of the holidays, vanilla, and the oak of the barrel. Some have hints of corn. 

A picture of one of their awards and a cabinet filled with their handmade whiskey

During the end of the tour, we were given a variety of whiskey to taste. We first started with a clear product of whiskey before it is put into barrels to age. This meant there were no flavors to it but the corn it was mashed from. The two year and four-year options had a different taste as in more of the oak-like and caramel feel. We were also given chocolate whiskey which tasted like a rich dark chocolate bar. Along with a holiday spice smelling whiskey that tasted like nutmeg and cinnamon. None of them was my favorite because I guess I am not a fan of whiskey. 

The Red Hook Winery

We have a hidden gem in Brooklyn. The Red Hook Winery is where I visited for my winery project. It was founded in 2008 by Mark Snyder. There are three winemakers, Christopher Nicolson, Robert Foley, and Abe Schoener. All three of them create different types of wine. The winemakers have their own stamp on bottles as their signature.

tasting room/counter

I went with Anna on a Wednesday afternoon. We learned so much information in only 1.5 hours. We learned that the grapes are all purchased in New York State, like near the Finger Lakes. The North Fork of Long Island is also very popular.

Map of Long Island

Once we walked in, we got greeted and given a glass of white wine. We were examining a map of Long Island where they import some of their grapes. After asking a few questions about the origin of Red Hook Winery, we were going to start the barrel tour. We brought our glasses inside with us to taste straight out of the barrels. After entering through those black doors, we saw where the magic happens.

Magical barrel room

There were so many barrels, machinery, bottling machine, and a storage room full of fermenting wines. Each barrel had masking tape marked with what type of grape, year, and who was the winemaker. We got to see a giant bladder press out some orange wine. As we go more deep inside, we learned that employees would crush grapes manually, like those old ladies back them. We all think it’s fun and cool, but Collin disagrees. He stated that it was cold and uncomfortable, but the job needs to be done.

Bottling machine

We got the try 3-5 days fermenting grapes. It was crazy how there was carbon dioxide, and we felt the bubbling tingly sensation on our tongues. Then, we walked into the 2nd fermentation barrel room. Our tour guide opened 3 barrels to let us try! This was such a cool experience. We tasted all reds: 2016, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2017 Merlot. They tasted so smooth, and the oak aromas were very present.

Tasting out of barrels

After seeing all the barrels, we went back out to the tasting room. That’s where we tasted 4 reds and 4 whites. We tried a 2013 Chardonnay, 2017 “Storm Master”, 2014 Chardonnay, and 2016 Gefion. All these white wines were from Long Island and made by different winemakers. We tasted all the fresh crisp flavors, some coconut, vanilla, caramel, and even apricot fruits. For the Reds, we had a 2015 Merlot, 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2017 Syrah, and 2012 “League of the Storm”. The Cabernet Franc is from the Finger Lakes and everything else was from Long Island. Reds had more of a smokey, oaky flavor, with green olives, red juicy fruits, and they were all medium to full body.

2013 Chardonnay, Storm Master, 2014 Chardonnay, 2016 Gefion

It was such an honor to visit The Red Hook Winery. It was amazing to see all the behind the scenes, and we got to meet Christopher! My mission would be going to an actual vineyard in Long Island or Upstate in the future.

Me, Christopher, Anna



The Red Hook Winery, Wine Region,

Winery visit assignment

The winery that I will be talking about in this paper is Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn. I went there on the 14th of November around the afternoon. It was my first time experiencing winery and see the things that I’ve been studying in class. It was a fantastic tour of Red Hook Winery, and I enjoyed their wines. When I first entered the winery, I got a greeting from the staff and a welcome drink to start. The very first wine I had is Sauvignon Blanc (2016), from Marcari vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. It was terrific, and I loved it. It was not too dry, light, and aromatic to me. The staff mentioned that this wine has produced and bottled under the direction of Robert Foley as we know that Foley is the famous guy from Napa Valley, California, that creating an unusual and expensive wine. We got to talk a little bit about the grapes that they use to produce the wines and places that they purchase the grapes. Red Hook Winery seems to carry many grapes from the vineyard of North Fork of Long Island, then Finger Lakes. I asked the staff about the American viticultural area, but he seemed not to know much about it. He just mentioned that it is an officially recognized wine region in the USA, and all the grapes they have are from the AVA’s areas. 

According to Red Hook Winery, “The North Fork of Long Island is dominated by the sea, in every sense. The growing region situated on a narrow “fork” of sea-level land that is sandwiched between the Great Peconic Bay on one side and by the full Peconic Sound on the other. Geologically, the North Fork is a glacial moraine and is composed almost entirely of well-drained sandy loam. Winters on the North Fork are cold but moderated by the surrounding water. Summers, on the other hand, can be hot and exceedingly humid. Humidity, rather than heat or cold, is the most significant challenge posed to winegrowers on the North Fork of Long Island.”

Additional, “The Finger Lakes are characterized by both the lakes for which the region is named and the cold weather that governs the region in winter. The region is situated in west-central New York; the first successful planting of European grape varietals was in 1959 by a Ukrainian botanist named Konstantin Frank. Viticulture is gathered around the steep edges of the four largest lakes. The water moderates the bitter winters and in the autumn helps capture warmth to extend the ripening season. Geologically, the Finger Lakes are dominated by highly fossiliferous sedimentary rock. Glaciation has created a dramatic up churning (& depositing) of diverse rock formations and has left impressively diverse soils in its wake. Racy acidity and keenly defined edges are characteristic of wines grown on the Finger Lakes.”

The tour began after we finished the drink. We walked inside the winery to explore the vitrification, and the first thing I saw was the big machines, many oak tanks, and the tons of dry grapes. The moment we entered the winery, there was a guy who’s cleaning up the machine. He was just finished pressing the grapes, and he let me touch the dry grapes that left out. Also, he opened the big oak tank to show the way they do the maceration. Then, he began talking about the steps of making the wine. We now entered the oak aging area or fermentation room, it was a big room filled with the oak tanks that imported from France. On each tank, there is a tape that has the name of a person who produces the wine, the region, the grape variety, and the vintage year on it. We tasted three wines that haven’t finished on the process of fermentation. The first thing that I noticed is the color of the wine is not normal; it’s light and muddy, which means it is not ready to be served. Second, the taste is strange and a little weird. And the last is I don’t smell any aroma of the wine, and it has only a little bit. 

Before the tour comes to an end, we got to taste eight more wines. There were four white and four red. The first white was Sauvignon Blanc (2016), from Marcari vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The second white was Chardonnay (2012), from Gristina vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The third white was Chardonnay Reserve (2012), from Mattebella vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The fourth white was Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, or they called orange wine (2013), from Jamesport vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The first red wine was Pebbles on the Shore (2013). It is a combination of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It’s from Jamesport vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The second red was Merlot (2015), from Macari vineyard, North Fork of Long Island. The third red was Petit Verdot (2014), from Rielly, North Fork of Long Island. This wine, Petit Verdot, is the only wine made from 100% of Petit Verdot. The last red wine was Cabernet Sauvignon (2014), Macari vineyard, North Fork of Long Island.

Most of the wines smell, taste, and look familiar, but the one that I get the most excited about is the orange wine or sauvignon blanc reserve. The sight part, the color is deep golden yellow because it’s darker than Chardonnay and regular Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is clear, I can see through it. The aroma is quite softer than usual Sauvignon Blanc. It smells clean, fresh, and orange aroma. The fruits that I am getting on my nose are jackfruits, green apple, orange skin, and a little bit of hazelnut. The intensity of the wine would be medium-high, and there’s no evidence of gas, no spice, and no flowers. On the palate, it is a dry, sour wine and has a tannin like red wine. I would love to pair this wine with Thai curry dishes at home, and the price of this wine is $60. It is a little high, but it’s worth it. I even got it one for myself. 

The experience of visiting the winery is impressive. I can see many things that we’ve been studying in class in reality, and I also understand what they are talking about during the tour about wine production. I never thought that I would love and pay this much attention to wines, but it is a good thing that I know now, and I can explain to my friends about wine stuff. However, this class might be over, but I will continue to study wine and enjoy drinking it forever. 

Me, enjoy tasting the wines at Red Hook Winery.

The guy showed the maceration process. He stirs the wine and the grape together to let them mixed well.

Me and my tour guide.

The map of the region in New York State that the Red Hook winery has bought the grapes from.

My experience of tasting eight wines. Four whites and four reds. Started from the left to the right, Sauvignon Blanc (2016), Chardonnay (2012), Chardonnay Reserve (2012), Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Pebbles on the Shore (2013) (a combination of Cabernet Franc and Merlot), Merlot (2015), Petit Verdot (2014), Cabernet Sauvignon (2014).





The Red Hook Winery, Wine Region,