Ajah Shann: Winery Visit Assignment

For my winery assignment, I visited Red Hook Winery. It is located at 175 Van Dyke St. Pier 41 Suite 325A, Brooklyn, NY 11231. I called them on Saturday of November 30th at around 5:30pm, to make an appointment to visit them on Wednesday of December 4th for around 3:00pm-5:00pm. I spoke to a man on the phone, who was very polite and kind but I didn’t get his name. I went with my friend Dzifa, who has to do this same winery assignment, but she is not in the class as me. It was my first time experiencing a winery and to see in person the things that I’ve been studying in class. It was a great tour of Red Hook Winery, and I enjoyed their wines.

It was founded in 2008 by Mark Synder, who has been in the music and sound business. He has always been on the road travelling and tasting wines with other celebrities, which gave him the idea of opening his own business. Red Hook Winery is an urban winery, whose wines are produced from grape to bottle at the site, with their own signature labels. It is stated in their official website that, “From the salty, sea-breeze-blown North Fork of Long Island to the stone, shale, and winter-dominated Finger Lakes, we work with grape farmers who give agricultural definition to New York’s nascent wine growing country.” This tells you that they get 90% grapes from North Fork of Long Island, and 10% grapes from Finger Lakes. There are three wine makers of Red Hook Winery, who are Christopher Nicolson, Robert “Bob” Foley and Abraham “Abe” Schoener. They create unique expressions of these individual vineyard sites, producing wines that reflect the climate, geology, and viticulture that make New York unlike any other growing region in the world.

We went at a perfect day and time, where they were hardly anyone there, and we took our times in going through everything. When I first entered the winery, I got greeted warm and welcoming from the staff. We stated that we were New York City College of Technology students, who had to visit a winery for an assignment. They asked if we were in Professor Goodlad’s class, and told us that a few students visited before. I stated that I called on Saturday to visit on Wednesday, which a man named Vince said, “I recalled that.” That signified that he was the person who I spoke to over the phone. Vince started at Red Hook Winery in June 2019, where he was assigned as a tasting room manager. He loves his job, and would like to move in the neighbor closer to work. Vince was the one who gave us a tour, since Christopher was busy dealing with other things. Vince first lined up four wine glasses each for us to try, alongside the bottle of the wines that he poured in the glasses, before he showed us the winery room. There were four categories of wines we chose from which were; White Wine, Rose & Orange Wine, Red Wine, and Sweet Wine.

The first wine I tried was the “Chardonnay 2014,” in the White Wine category by Christopher Nicolson, with grapes from South Vineyard, North Fork. It was a day bright/gold yellow light body wine. The smell and taste were combinations of apples, pears, etc. with medium acidity and short after taste. This can be pair with seafood, light veggies or a salad. The second wine I tried was the “Skin Fermented Chardonnay ‘Gefion’ 2016,” in the Rose & Orange Wine category by Abe Schoener, with grapes from North Fork.  It was a bright/gold orange wine, with a short finish. The smell and taste were combinations of peaches, apricots, etc. with medium acidity and medium sweetness. The third wine I tried was the “Petit Verdot 2014,” in the Red Wine category by Robert Foley, with grapes from Reilly Wine yard, North Fork. It was a very dark red/violet full body wine. The smell and taste were combinations of cherries, blueberries, plums, etc. with high acidity, tanning and a very short finish. This can be pair with red rub ribs or a lean burger. The fourth wine I tried was the “Riesling ‘Late Harvest’ 2015,” in the Sweet Wine category by Robert Foley, with grapes from Jamesport Vineyard, North Fork. It was a day bright/orange/rust color medium body wine. The smell and taste were combinations of honey, syrup, raisins, etc. with a lingering finish. It was a very sweet wine with 9% alcohol, which I hardly tasted. This wine is to be pair with desserts.

Then Vince showed us to the winery room, where the magic happens. There was the machine that presses the grapes, which was explained in class by professor. Then there was three other machines; one that cleans the bottles, fills the bottles with wine, and closes the bottles with corks along with putting labels on the bottles. After that he showed up the barrel room with about 100 barrels of wine or more, being left to age. Unfortunately, we were unable to taste wines directly from the barrels. Red Hook Winery produces about 1,500 cases a year, with 12 bottles in each case. The prices of the wines at Red Hook Winery range from $20-$50 per bottle. They usually hire people to work there in the summer. I would say that my overall experience was great, and I hope to visit a winery with actual vineyard there in the future.

This picture shows my friend Dzifa and I at Red Hook Winery in the wine tasting room.

This picture shows the four wines I tasted in the wine tasting room.

This picture shows the barrel room at Red Hook Winery.

This picture shows the first machine that cleans the bottles.

This picture shows the second machine that fills the bottles with wine.

This picture shows the third machine, which closes the bottles with corks, and puts the labels on the bottles.


The Red Hook Winery, Wine Region, https://www.redhookwinery.com/about.

Ajah Shann: Retail Wine Shop Assignment

This first picture is considered as the “Shelf Talker.” It is also their best selling wine, because customers love it, and it is cheap to purchase.

This second picture is the red wine from Spain. It is 60% Bobal, and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vintage is 2018, and it contains 13.5% alcohol. The label in the front and back is mostly in spanish, but it was the Cabernet Sauvignon that interested me.

This third picture is the sparkling wine that is not from France. A lovely, rosy watermelon hue, dry and frothy, with deep delicious flavors of raspberry, orange rind, and herbs. It is from Spain, and it contains 12% alcohol.

This fourth picture is the red wine from a region i did not know that made wine. The design of the label drew my attention with its color, font style, and the flower. It is a 100% Syrah wine, and it contains 12.5% alcohol. The vintage is 2018.

I went to Chamber Street Wines, which is located at 148 Chamber Street, New York, NY 10007. I chose this retail store because it is near to the place I was going to work at that day. Unfortunately I was unable to call in advance to schedule a meeting with a manager or a store employee, due to the lack of free time I had before, and if I am being honest with you, I was procrastinating on picking a retail store to do this assignment. I went on Saturday November 16th 2019, at around 2:15pm after work. The place was not hard to find. I would say that my experience there was great. I did not get any hostile attitudes or behaviors from any employees of the store.

As I enter the store, I saw it was filled with bottles and bottles of wines. At first I felt like the few employees there would not have been able to help me because of the limited time, but it was not so. It was kind of busy on that day and time, with customers asking for help to purchase wines. Unfortunately, I was just a student who came to visit for my assignment, and I am under the age to legally purchase alcohol. The store was medium in size, and it felt like there was not much space to fully move around through the aisles, with the hundreds of wine they had. I was being super careful with how I was walking and picking up the wines, feeling nervous that I would end up dropping a bottle on the floor, having the glass shatter to pieces and wine all on the floor.

First I spoke with a woman and explained to her that I am a student of New York City College of Technology, who is taking a Wine class this semester. I am required to take pictures and ask an employee questions for an assignment. She said it was okay to do so and she was happy to help. Then I asked her if where are the shelf talker, and she stated that since the store isn’t that big to officially have one. Therefore, theirs were shown with a laminated paper detailing the wines in a box. But then customers came in and asked for her assistance to purchase wines, so she told to give her a few minutes before she continues helping me out. I started walking around, wondering and trying to figure out what was what to get the rest of pictures I needed. I asked the employees who was shacking and packing, but they did not have any knowledge. Then a very welcoming employee called Ben Fletcher came up to me and asked if I needed assistance. I told him the same thing I told the woman, and he showed to the wines to get my pictures, which he gave a few minutes to analyze on my own. Then came back to me to answer my questions, when there were a few customers left in the store.

He grew up in Virginia, and been living in New York for four years now. He said that it really likes it here. Although he mostly studied geography and history, he figured that there was a way to have that work into this business. There was also something that grab him to work with wines, besides being passionate about importing them, and wanting to focus on Spanish wines. But he had done wine education in 2015, which prepared him for a test called WSET, and thought it was a great way to start in this business. The best part of his job is getting to be around intelligent workers in learning something every day, and the customers that are excited to purchase the wines. The worst part of his job is working six days a week, especially on holidays, which are the really crazy and busy times. But he said that once you are totally committed, then you can get through it.