The winery that I visited with my friends was called “Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard” located at 1375 Peconic Ln, Peconic, NY 11958. The Sannino Vineyard is included in the American Viticultural Area (AVA) called North Fork AVA in Long Island. The Sannino Vineyard offers educational tours costing $50 per person, hence the reason we chose to visit this vineyard.
Sannino Vineyard is one of the vineyards in Long Island that uses the Sustainable Viticulture practice to grow quality wine grapes and prohibits practices and materials that are harmful to the ecological environment. According to the vineyard, “Sustainable Viticulture” is a concept, a paradigm and a set of local “best practice”. The three components that make up sustainability are simply: environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic viability”. This is to help improve the environment, workers’ safety, job satisfaction, and economic fairness. It is also a way to create and spread the awareness of the consequences of one’s actions toward the farms, workplaces, and communities.
Sannino owns three vineyards. Each one of them grows a different grape variety. The first location grows Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The second location grows 8 different varieties of white wine grapes. And, the third location grows Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and more. All the three locations would produce over 1000 cases of wine per year.
For our tour, Mr. Bill was our tour guide and Mr. Bill Sanok helped to explain in detail about the vineyards and the history of the Long Island wine industry. We discussed components need to be considered in order to make a quality wine.
- Terroir or location: The terroir or location is a specific characteristic of a place or land. The climate/weather in the vineyard should be Maritime Climatic, which means that it is a warm summer with a cooling breeze that comes from the Atlantic Ocean. By being close to the water, it helps to moderate the increase or decrease in temperature. For example, it helps to prevent excessive summer heat and extend the summer time to last longer which means more sun exposure and higher humidity level (which could also be a disadvantage to the vineyard). The type of the soil at the location of the vineyard is called the Glacial soil, which means that when the glacier is melted, it pushes the soil from one area to another that becomes a mix of 3 different types of soil, that is, sand, silt, and clay.
- Grape variety: what kind of grape do you want to grow? What would people like to drink? Sannino vineyards have 12 different varieties of grape that they can offer to consumers such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and so on.
- Other things to be considered are:
- When it is the best time to harvest and how many times will they be able to harvest grapes from the vine;
- The fermentation process — that is, fermenting inside stainless steel or oak barrel. By fermenting inside the oak barrel, things that need to be aware of are the microscopic level, angel share (evaporation of the liquid), micro-oxygenation (controlling the amount of the oxygen during fermentation to have a longer preservation) and the flavor (the concentrated flavor of the wine);
- How they train the vine and thin out the leaf (canopy training);
- Alcohol content;
- Brick level – sugar content in the grape;
- Other things to be considered are:
- Acidity level; and
- Netting the grape – This is to prevent birds and other animals from coming to destroy the grapes.
These are some of the things that Mr. Bill and Mr. Sanok have mentioned and discussed with us about the decisions and the things to consider in order to make a quality wine. Then we proceeded on to talk about biodynamic wine, which is a type of wine that is developed by Rudolf Steiner. It is a wine that is made from the combined principles of organic farming. Steiner believes that it is better to include the use of manure and compost rather than using an artificial chemical such as the pesticide.
Throughout the tour, we were given 6 different types of wine to taste which are Chardonnay, Reisling, Syrah, Rose (light Merlot), Cabernet Franc, and Spiced wine (mulled wine). Out of all the wine, I’m most surprised at the spiced wine as it is served warm. Since I have never heard of this type of wine I have a lot of expectation for it after Mr. Bill has described and talked highly about it.
- Spiced Wine description:
- Smell = cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove; dried blueberry; and raisin.
- Appearance = dark purple/red blood color; cloudy and opaque; solids (mainly from the spices).
- Taste = pepper, cinnamon, raisin; medium acidity level, slightly sweet, tannin, and it has a long finish.
Spiced Wine – It is a red blend wine infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice that is served warm. to enjoy during the Fall season. Price: $14/bottle
Lastly, Mr. Bill and Mr. Sanok finished off the tour by giving us advice on how to buy wine and sell wine if we want to work in the wine industry.
- Buying wine – we need to check the shelf talker and see if there are an actual quote from critics. This is to prevent bias opinion from the employees who are only trying to sell wine to you.
- Selling wine – we need to pair wine with cheese since cheese has protein that helps to enhance the taste of the wine.
Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2018, from http://liwines.com/winery/sannino-bella-vita-vineyard/
Our Climate. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2018, from http://www.lisustainablewine.org/our-climate/
Glossary | Learn Wine | Wine Spectator. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://www.winespectator.com/glossary/index/word/A
Glossary. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://www.robertparker.com/resources/glossary-terms#A