Nasiayah Lubin: Paumanok Vineyards

For my winery analysis assignment, I had decided to visit Paumanok Vineyards based on a recommendation from a fellow classmate. The vineyard is located in North Fork of Long Island at 1074 Main Rd. Aquebogue, N.Y. 11931. They offer different four different tour options: a free self-guided tour, a guided tour for $5 per person, a proprietor tour at $20 per person, and a VIP tour for $55 per person by appointments only. I opted for the proprietor tour at $20 per person since that had seemed to be the most informative at a reasonable price. As advertised, the proprietor tour is an in-depth guided tour of Paumanok Vineyards and winemaking facilities with one of the owners and usually runs from half an hour to an hour. In our case, our proprietor tour guide was Ursula Massoud, co owner of the 103-acre estate.

Paumanok Vineyards is a family-owned operation which is run by Ursula and Charles Massoud along with their three sons: Salim, Nabeel, and Kareem. Ursula was very helpful and informative. As the granddaughter of a vintner from the Pfalz region along the French border of southern Germany, she holds approximately 450 years of winemaking experience passed down from her maternal grandparents. Ursula and Charles have three sons who all work to maintain the vineyard. Salim Massoud works on the vineyard dealing with the day-to-day operations. Nabeel Massoud has been working on the vineyard since 2002 and manages the establishment. Kareem Massoud deals with much of the public relations as well as the winemaking that occurs on the vineyard. The three sons maintain an active online presence through social media and are vigorously engaged with the vineyard.

You can also find on YouTube (click here) and in numerous articles talk about viniculture and innovative sciences that are helping vineyards like solar panels. In 2009, solar panels came on the property. This winery’s barn is a renovated turn-of-the-century barn that houses a fermentation tank room and lab.

The spacious tasting room was built on top of the barrel cellar. An inviting deck overlooking the vineyards surrounds it. The estate only plants premium vinifera grapevines, consisting of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The family believes that the traditional dense planting of the vineyards at 1100 vines per acre produces more concentrated fruit and therefore higher quality wines. The wines produced at Paumanok Vineyards uses only estate-grown grapes and production is limited to fewer than 9000 cases.

Up until 1983, the vineyard was originally a potato farm until Charles and Ursula bought the farm and began to convert the land into one that was suitable for viticulture. The farm was renamed after a connotation utilized in a Walt Whitman poem, which Ursula stumbled upon during her studies of Native American culture in college. The ambiance of the vineyard evokes a feeling of intimacy, comfort, and serenity, which may be due in large part to the business being a family-owned establishment.

Throughout the tour, Ursula emphasized the importance of the soil and how vital it was to the viticulture. Due to glaciers, the soil in the North Fork region is much like that of Oregon possessing sandy qualities which make it absorbent, yet well-draining, which prevents flood pockets. That, along with the microclimate, makes it suitable for growing grapes of a European variety since it helps the soil retain heat in the winter. Since Paumanok Vineyards specializes in the Old World traditions of wine making, Ursula explains that with the change of the seasons, the cool grape growing maritime helps especially with their red wines that have many similarities to Bordeauxs during the growing and harvesting seasons.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.42.44 PMDuring our tour, we were able to witness an early bud break. It was explained that this was not necessarily a bad thing unless there is frost; it depends mainly on the weather. Typically a new batch will begin to grow but the quality of the grapes will moderately diminish. Their approach to agriculture relies on some handpicking along with harvesting machines, which are utilized to safely remove the grapes from their vines. During this process, harvest nets are used to protect the grapes from being poached by birds. Noble rot is not preferred but if a substantial amount occurs, then a late harvest will be done, which in result makes the grapes extra-sweet. It is also mentioned that sometimes, after the bud break stage, some vines are cut off to control the amount of grapes that are grown in order to help produce a superior batch.

The winery mainly uses stainless steel tanks in their vinification process; however, depending on the type of wine being produced, sometimes-oak barrels are also used. Prior to the expansions affording the vineyard the ability to make their own wines, the grapes were sent to an offsite location and were sent back already fermented and bottled. Presently the wine is made right on the property and no product is ever bottled right out of the oak, which helps with Paumanok’s unique clean and crisp taste. They are sure to use a hose when transferring the wine from the oak barrels so as to prevent contamination of the product. Each of these barrels run for about $800 each, and in large part due to the support of the New York restaurant market, Paumanok earns anywhere from one to five million dollars annually. Once bottled, the wines are shipped to over 500 different distributors within the Tristate area, five within Chicago, and even one in Aruba. The bottles use screw caps as opposed to corking because they believe that it keeps the wine fresher for a longer period of time.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.44.15 PMAt the end of our guided tour we arrived at the tasting room. It was simple and bright, with a beautiful unobstructed view of the vines. The staff was attentive and very knowledgeable on all the wines in the portfolio.

The Semi-Dry Riesling was my favorite of their offerings; it held a golden yellow hue with fruit foreword with apple, apricot, and peach aromatics as well as on the palate and had a crisp finish. The single-block estate Reds were pretty nice, but they were in the $75/bottle price range. There was Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.39.00 PMalso an outdoor seating patio; the scene is absolutely gorgeous and serene when accompanied with a glass of wine. Overall the establishment is friendly, easy-going, scenic, and provides an excellent experience. The environment is a great change of pace from the city and suits those who look to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Overall, the trip to the winery was educational and enjoyable. One thing for sure is that the Massoud family, one of the original twelve grape farmers of the North Fork AVA and one of the last three remaining original owners, seems to be in great and capable hands as the business continues to be passed down to invested and passionate people within the wine industry. I sincerely believe that Paumanok Vineyards has come a long way from their 1983 purchase, to their first wine production in 1989, and official debut in 1993 and will continue to be successful in the years to come.

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“Paumanok Vineyards – History.” Paumanok Vineyards – History. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015. <>

Koplan, Steven, and Smith, Brain, and Weiss, Michael. 2010. Exploring Wine. New York City, NY: Wiley

The Gem of North Folk- Sparkling Pointe

For the purpose of the wines and beverages class, our class project required that we attend an AVA Winery or vineyard, and write a response paper. At 29 years old, prior to this class, I had a great knowledge of spirits due to working in the Live Events sector, but never had an understanding of Wines. I also had never had alcohol, choosing to stay away as i was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 7. By the time wine became a popular past time in the US, I had already gone so long without it that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, so I decided to stay away. Up until this point, all the wines that we have experienced have been either department or professor recommended, so I took great care in mulling over the decision of what I wanted my first chosen drink to be.

I thought long and hard about what it was I wanted to experience before I choose the location that I wanted to visit. I have always had an extreme fascination with alcohol, and more importantly the effects it has had on status and pop culture. After studying here in class, I found myself very intrigued by the concepts around German and African wines, but seeing as how the assignment didn’t come with a plane ticket, no Gewurztraminer for me. Then a few days ago, knee deep in the planning for my 30th birthday, the thought hit me.  I want to study Champagne, which due to the trends in live events, falls right into that category of information i should know just in case. After doing some research, the information pertaining to Champagne and more so, Champagne in the US, that I was hooked. Upon research into Long Island Wine Country, I booked a rental, and scheduled a trip to Sparkling Point in North Fork, Long Island.

AVA- North Fork, Long Island

Located at the very eastern point of Long Island, North Fork is an AVA that is surrounded on 3 sides by the ocean, and the home of the Long Island Wine Trail. North Fork is one of the very few places on the north east coast where Vitis Vinifera grapes ripen, and producers specialize in Merlot, Cabernet France, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.


Approximately an hour and a half from the city via the Long Island Expressway, i appreciated that the travel time to get to the location was no more than my regular commute to work. Compared to New York City, Sparkling Pointe is located in what feels like a rural city, peppered with farmers markets, flower shops, and a Cheesecake stands that garners the fame of being the best in the world. Momentarily distracted by the thought of stopping at the notorious Tanger Outlets in Riverhead that i passed getting off the expressway, i found myself so anxious to reach my destination, that once I saw the sign indicating that i had arrived, I pulled over and took a picture of it from the roadside.

Sparkling Pointe

Upon parking the car, I immediately began taking pictures of this beautifully serene location.


The view from the road. I have arrived!!

While it didn’t seem as large as I thought it would be

based on the pictures, I would soon realize just how big of an effect point of view has on personal perception. I parked the car, and headed toward the entrance to the house. Once I entered the house, I was impressed with the Cape style house, with a beach feeling, straight out of the scene of Hampton Weddings. Upon entering, there was a gift shop set up like a wine store to my left, with the sparkling wines categorized and titled for easy purchasing.


The Bubbly Botique, where you can purchase the wines of the vineyard.

Walking past the shop, you were immediately in the middle of a very large tasting room, with the hints of other rooms that it led to in each corner.


The largest of the 3 tasting rooms.


The beautiful VIP tasting room, also used for private events.

The house had glass windows, which allowed you to see the lovely entrance (a different side from which I entered), and to the back yard, which was set up in a large patio style, which then led right into the grapes.

Coming back into the first tasting room, to the left was a bar, which was manned by the lovely woman named Ann, who would go on to provide the amazing customer service, warmly welcomed me to Sparkling Pointe and began to tell me about their offerings. I set my bag down, and began my experience.


A case containing Press Clippings and Awards of the Vinyard.


I fell in love with this piece that was hanging on the wall, which was depicting a scene from Carnival time, which tied into the theme of their Sparkling Rose.

Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine Designation

Traditionally, as we have learned that the French are very big on terrior, the term “Champagne” refers to a product made from traditional methods


The vines!

using grapes specifically grown in the Champagne region of France, which was so important to them, that it was included in the Treaty of Versailles at the end of WW1.  In 2006, a wine trade agreement was signed between the US and France, and it was agreed that the term would not be used in a generic manner, in terms of wines, not beer and other spirits.

Methode Champenoise

Originally used in Champagne region of France, Methode Champenoise is the traditional method to produce sparkling wine. In this process, there is a primary fermentation, followed by blending, the wine is then bottled, and fermentation is then undergone in the bottle. The second fermentation is the point at which Carbon Dioxide is trapped in the wine, causing the bubbles. Here at Sparkling Pointe, the grapes used in the process are dominantly Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvigon Blanc.

Tasting Notes

For a great price of $17, I engaged in a tasting menu of the 4 jewels of Sparkling Pointe. While she offered me tasting notes, I politely declined, as I attempted to test my knowledge by doing the tasting on my own, and then going thru it with Ann, and letting her talk me thru each tasting.


A copy of the menu I was provided for the tasting.

  1. 2011 Brut


    2011 Brut

56 % Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir, 12% Pinot Meunier


Appearance: Pale yellow, with light hints of green, tiny amount of bubbles

Nose: apple, apricot (as per Ann, it is fresh apple, pear, orange blossom)

Taste: Apple, feeling somewhere in-between skim milk and regular milk (thanks Raj) (As per Ann, crisp, complex, creamy with a floral and mineral laden taste that is well balanced.)

Food Pairings: Seafood (As per Ann, oysters, Sushi, Caviar, and any kind of sharp cheeses.)

Ann’s notes: This is one of her favorites, as she described that 2011 was a hard year, as it had a lot of rain and a lot of heat, requiring them to drop a lot of fruit to allow what was left to ripen fully. While it did not affect the sparkling wines as much, they harvested at 19 brix.

  1. 2010 Balanc de Blancs

2010 Balanc de Blancs

100% Chardonnay


Appearance: a beautiful deep yellow color

Nose: floral, possible citrus (As per Ann, tree blossoms, green apple, and biscuit.)

Taste: fruit forward, light, lemon (As per Ann, lemon zest and doughy characters)

Food Pairings: Grilled Tilapia with asparagus (As per Ann, triple cream chesses, truffle popcorn, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, as well as garlic stuffed mushrooms and Greek cuisine)

Ann’s Notes: 2010 was a year where the grapes ripened quickly, and was their earliest harvest ever. It was aged for 3 years on its fine yeast lees, and it is one of their prized sparkling wines, but not a favorite of hers.

3. 2005 Brut Seduction


2005 Brut Seduction

57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay


Appearance: deep yellow color (as per Ann she said golden)

Nose: almonds and floral (As per Ann, Almonds, brioche, wild berry and floral)

Taste: Almonds, and a taste that I can’t place. Something very fruit forward. (As per Ann, Its Wild Berry and Florals)

Food Pairings: seafood, specifically boiled crab (As per Ann, Lobster and butter sauce, foie gras, creamy mushroom risotto)

Ann’s Notes:

Brut Seduction is the Vineyard’s prized possession, (prestige cuvee) receiving tons of accolades in the press, and designation as 2014 Best Sparkling wine in NY State. The harvest this year took place the 1st wk. of September, and resulted in excellent ripeness and balance.

  1. NV Cuvee Carnaval Rose


    NV Cuvee Carnaval Rose

62% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir (24% Reserve Wine)


Appearance: a beautiful light red/pink color (As per Ann, pale pink)

Nose: strawberries, floral (As per Ann, strawberry, cherry, florals.)

Taste: fruit forward, cherry (As per Ann, subtle sweetness of brioche and sugar cookie)

Food Pairings: Duck (As per Ann, rich cheeses and game meats, leg of lamb, or ham)

Ann’s notes: Her other personal favorite, most of the fruit was sourced from a 2012 blend, as there was the a mild winter and early budbreak, and minus some frost at certain sites, the warm temps sped up the flowering. It’s a lush and ripe and makes for a great aperitif.

Additional Comments:

Overall, the experience was an amazing one.


Ann convinced my to do my tasting a the edge of the grape vines.

The vineyard being located on such a beautiful part of the island was heightened by the beautiful summer breeze of the day.


The pallet cleanser

The warm welcoming hospitality and customer service displayed by the staff, allowed this tasting to feel more like a one day destination getaway as opposed to a trip to a vineyard. The only downfall for me was that the vineyard did not contain a full restaurant, only limited items for pairing with the sparkling wines, as per regulations. As a picky eater, I did bring my own assortment of honey roasted almond, and helped myself to a Gluten Free Brownie, which was surprisingly amazing, but alas, expensive.


The amazing Gluten free brownies that I tasted.

Overall, it was such an amazing experience that I scheduled a larger group tasting for later on this month, for the first time I actually drink alcohol. Thank you for inspiring this experience, as it was a great one!


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The gems of Sparkling Pointe and their various awards by bottle.

North Fork of Long Island Wine.” Wine Searcher. Wine-Searcher, 14 June 2014. Web. 10 May 2015. <

Vinny, Dr. “Ask Dr. Vinny.” What’s the Story with the Use of the Word “Champagne” on American Products? Wine Spectator, n.d. Web. 15 May 2015. <>.




Bedell Cellars a great way to spend a day!


Bedell Cellars Winery Tour- What  a way to spend a day!

Bedell Cellars is located at 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY 11935.
U.S.A.. The weIMG_0477b site is It is located on the Long Island sound, surrounded by the Peconic bay off the Atlantic Ocean. The cellar boasts three (3) vineyards spanning seventy acres. Michael Lynne is the owner he is also a movie producer with a successful film production company. Lynne is also a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Trent Preszler is the C.E.O. and has transformed Bedell Cellars over the last twelve (12) years, he is also a national leader in the farm winery movement. Rich Olsen- Harbich is the winemaker with over 30 years of experience. Dave Thompson is the vineyard manager and has been with the company since 1985.

We left Harlem at 9:00 a.m. on a bleak Saturday morning in early May excited to experience our first winery tour and tasting. The drive was pleasant and when we arrived a little after 11:00 a.m. the sun was starting to c1134ome out although it was still a little chilly. We entered the potato barn that has been newly renovated (picture #1) where we were greeted with a glass of rosé seen in picture #2, which was a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It was crisp, refreshing and was $40 a bottle, well worth it, the balance between acidity and sugar was superb. We had reserved a private tour of the vineyard including a tour of the cellar and a wine tasting with cheese and crackers at a cost of $100.00 each.The only other option was $20.00 for a premium wine tasting so we decided to opt for the full experience and immerse ourselves in wine culture. Chris was our wine specialist who guided us through this very informative tour. Our first stop was the vines, bud breaks in the first week of May, they train small vines and their yields are 2-3 tons per acre. They aim for small yields and practice green harvesting which includes dropping fruit and pulling leaves by hand which aids in the reduction of mildew and rot. 95% of the grapes are harvested by hand. There are 150,000 vines with 8-10 people tending 1130the vineyard each touching the vine 8-10 times per year. This equals to over 1 million hands-on interactions with the vines for the year. Vines are self-pollinating. The oldest vines were planted in 1980, the chardonnay grape is among them, and it is 35 years old, the oldest vine on the North Folk coast. Viogner was planted in 1994. Bedell Cellars grow 15 grape varieties including chardonnay and chardonnay clones, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, Albariño, merlot, malbec, gewürztraminer, viognier and syrah. Plants are given a little less water than is needed so that it competes to ripen the grape which will add more complexity to the wine. 2009 was an exceptional vintage for merlot and was enjoyed at the White House by President Obama and the First Lady at a major Presidential function, the only vineyard to boast such an honor. Clones of chardonnay are widely grown here they have an earlier ripening period and are more disease resistant. The southern side of the vineyard has more exposure to sun and has 1128a later ripening period, grapes like cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot are planted here, syrah needs the most sunlight and is planted on the southernmost tip of the vineyard. The back of the vineyard is due north and chardonnay and its clones mature here. Cutchogue is said to have the most sunlight and u.v. light in the whole of New York, although I could not find any information to support that. Vines are planted by clippings not seeds which are placed in a nursery for one (1) year before being planted and are grown two (2) years before they are trained on a trellis system. Bedell Cellars practice the guidelines of the Long Island sustainable wine growing (LISW) association which consist of over 200 farming practices and regulations and was formulated by Cornell University. A third party inspects the vineyard and if it has practiced sustainable wine habits a seal of approval is given by the LISW. Bedell Cellars practice integrated pest management (IMP), they use minimum nitrates and peanut meal is used instead to retard the formation of bacteria. They keep the cover crop dense which prevents erosion and promotes the natural predators. If chemical sprays have to be used toxins are minimal and do not show up in ground water.
The P1192econic bay helps to moderate temperatures
which do not fall below 0°f or rise above 90°f. It has a maritime climate with cool moderate conditions and heavy rainfall, due to the Atlantic Ocean. There is a long growing season around 200 days which provides the grapes with a slow ripening process and provides more time for harvest. The area is non- irrigated and there is excellent drainage due to the soil composition. The newer vines have a drip system of irrigation in place. The older plants are low-impact, roots can reach the water table just below. The soil is Newhaven loam which is a sandy base, with gravel some silt and clay. According to “Exploring Wine” by Kolpan, Smith and Weiss loam “is crumbly and has better drainage than clay”. The top soil is plant material the sub-soil is silt, clay and sand and the parent material are components of a glacier and volcanic sediment.


Red wines are fermented in oak barrels and stainless steel vats. The older o1160ak casks are preferred as it offers a more neutral flavor with more fruit forward notes. Cooper oak barrels are used, they are said to be the best and cost $1200. 00 each for the large barrel which holds 59 gallons or approximately 225 liters. When fermented in stainless steel tanks small tanks are used and there is less contact with the sediment there is also no oak flavor. Head space is left at a minimum and tanks are kept as full as possible constantly being topped up once a week with wine, this prevents oxidation and spoilage. If oxidation is a threat an inert gas, nitrogen may be added to prevent it. Red fruit is destemmed, hand sorted to remove rocks, stems and all MOG’s- matter other than grape. Instead of pumping red must, which is the more traditional way, it is dumped from the top of a 1700 gallon stainless steel tank by a grape elevator and gravity takes care of the rest, this method is called a “pump over”.1167
Stainless steel is used for holding tanks for fermentation. Racking is done a few times during the course of the red wine aging process. Tannins are managed in a number of ways, carbon dioxide is added to the tank which causes the solid matter to rise to the top such as grape skins. Free run juice is pumped from the bottom over the grape skins and juice is aerated which prevents bacterial spoilage and creates color. Sometimes the residue is redistributed manually. Commercial yeast is not used during the fermentation process, only wild naturally occurring indigenous yeast is used. This natural fermentation takes 2-4 weeks.

Bottli1186ng is fully automated and up to 1200 cases can be bottled in a day. The system is sanitized with nitrogen and natural cork is used which leaves less of a carbon footprint. All labeling is done by machine for both front and back labels. The base of the majority of wines at Bedell Cellars are the early press chardonnay and sauvignon blanc varieties.


Every1190 season employees add fruits, vegetables and flowers to the yeast starter culture as a tribute to the season for prosperity and good



Tasting Notes
The tasting menu we received was the premium flight, we were 1209served three different kinds of goat cheese and crackers. The goat cheese was from Catapano local farms and was lemon pepper, chevre and parsley and basil. A metal spittoon was also pro1213 vided.
Most wines have celebrity art work on their labels due to Michael Lynne’s passion for the arts. The merlot which is one of their signature grapes only has the Bidell wine label with no artist highlighted on the bottle.

1. Dry Ro1215sé- 2014. $25.00 a bottle. The design on the bottle is from the artist Barbara Kruger who produces many black and white photographs overlaid with declarative captions. The color of the wine is clear with a slight touch of peach, on the nose is grapefruit and apricot. The wine has a light finish, is dry and slightly acidic on the palate with tropical notes. It would be excellent with a seafood salad with a fruit vinaigrette. We were excited for the rosé but this was not even close to the complexity and flavor of the first sparkling rosé we tried upon our arrival.
2.1220 Gewürztraminer- 2013. $40.00 a bottle. This grape is 33 years old. The wine is dry with low residual sugar with great consistency and complexity. Howard Schatz is the artist featured on this bottle he photographed a calla lily. Chris our host, describes the wine as spicy with floral aromatics, rose petals and lychee notes with a salinity due to the sea breeze. The color is pale yellow with an odd smell on the nose, I was amiss, maybe petroleum but not quite, vaseline or some other chemical? The only term I could muster was “funky”. The smell was so overwhelming for me it consumed the palette, it was displeasing and highly disappointing. I asked Chris to check the wine and he reported that the bottle was not compromised.
3. Gallery- 20122413 $60.00 a bottle. This is a blend which includes 70% Dijon chardonnay (a clone) 24% viognier 6% sauvignon blanc. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then oak aged after blending. This ensures some acidity and keeps the ripeness and fullness of the wine intact. Ross Bleckner is the artist who designed this label his photograph is of falling birds. This wine undergoes malolactic fermentation to change malic acid to lactic acid which is smoother and creamier. The wine is very pale with a citrus and buttery nose and a fruit forward mild oak palette and an excellent finish. This wine was by far my favorite. I have never tried wine like this before. I wish I had the money to buy a bottle but I did not so I did the next best thing and had a glass after the tasting was done. Delicious!!!
4. Malbec- 2013. $50.00 a bottle. 12-13% A.B.V. Grown in this cool climate it is acidic, it is estat1227e labeled. It typically has aromatic and spicy notes. 2013 was an excellent year for Malbec and it shows. The color is beautiful and rich, magenta ruby colored. Hints of cloves, dried currants and dried cherries on the nose. The palette enlivens with vanilla, clove and dried fruit flavors. It is medium bodied with medium tannins and can be aged up to 10 years after vintage date. Very delicious but again out of my price range

5. Musee- 2012. $90.00 a bottle. Chuck Close did the stencil photography, he is paralyzed and has a slight mental handicap and is known for his large portraits, his paint brushes are hooked up to a pulley system. This wine is a blend of 65% merlot 30% cabernet sauvignon some petit verdot and syrah are also in the blend. Cabernet sauvignon is a difficult grape to grow in this region but 2010  was an excellent year, it was the best year since 1973 when the first vines were planted.
This was an unforgettable experience. I will be doing this again many more times in my life. What makes it even greater is that the tastings are affordable $15-$20 and you can bring snacks and sit out doors and enjoy the sunshine and sip on wine. What was great about the tour is that we knew all the wine terminology and were able to ask specific industry questions because we study wine. That felt great. I learned one thing priming/ charging/ rincing is better done with the wine you are about to taste and not water. Water can leave behind chlorine or other chemicals that influence the taste of the wine. Bedell Cellars harvest all the way to late October I would like to visit again in a couple months to see the grapes on the vines.
Wine Spectator Home | Wine Spectator. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from

Kolpan, S., & Smith, B. (1996). The right stuff: Grape growing and grape types. In Exploring wine: The Culinary Institute of America’s complete guide to wines of the world (3rd ed., p. 7). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Certified Trained Employee of Bidell Wine Cellars – Chris.

Winery Makes List of Historic Places for Making Wine History

Chateau Montelena Added to List of Historic Places

It was many years ago but I truly enjoyed visiting Chateau Montelena, it was understated, elegant and rich with charm. I enjoyed strolling through the gardens and of course tasting their wines. The private tour of the cellar provided an insight into their wine-making and storage facilities that I remember to this day. Congratulations to those involved in attaining the prestigious honor.


Dundee Hills, Oregon: Pinot Noir Country and So Much More

In March 2014 I was in the Oregon wine country, touring tasting and learning. Lea003rning a lot. I drove north from Salem towards Dundee, and at first I felt that the wine country was quite similar to Long Island but boy was I wrong. Yes, there were flat places and a maritime climate. Yes, there were sod farms and farm stands with local produce but that is about where it ends. What I thought were apple trees were filbert trees, where on Long Island there would be flat land at every 007turn in the Willamette Valley a turn off the road can lead up a steep hill.

The maritime climate was showing at its peak with grey skies, a deep dense fog and a constant mist and light rain. It was cool and the damp March air was heavy, blanketing the vines as they rested for the winter. I was able to just see the faint outlines of the hills that surround the valley and the pine trees that tower over head with their commanding presence. Their beauty helped make this region unique.

021 019On Dundee hill various vineyard management philosophies were evident. At White Rose  Winery: the vines were trained very close to the ground to accommodate for the fog that often covers their vineyards. With some vines pruned and others still showing their canes the growth that takes place was evident. The pruned vines sat just inches from the ground but the canes shot up over six feet from the ground. I had seen this type of pruning before but only in books.

Just a few hundred yards away was Domaine Drouhin: 015 and Archery Summit:, their properties are adjacent to each other but their planting styles are worlds apart. At Domaine Drouhin their vines are planted very close together, spaced about three feet apart and four feet wide. This dense planting results in more vines per acre than many of the surrounding vineyards but they tend to drop a significant amount of fruit leading to similar yields per acre.027 Archery is on the south side of the hill and uses wider planting and a north-south planting pattern.

This is Pinot Noir country and the wines express their sites beautifully. Though, through all this Pinot Noir I was surprised to see chardonnay on the tasting menu at Domaine Drouhin. They use a Dijon clone and have had great success in this cool maritime climate. Earlier wine makers tried to use other clones with less success, Drohin, however, shows beautifully with a balance between a crisp French style and new world expressions.

My visit to Domaine Serene was inspired by Prof. Roger Dagorn, MS. “A must see” he said and he was right. I found elegance here, not only in the030 wine but in the winery too. The lawn and winery are immaculate and all encompassing with a wrought iron mastodon on the lawn created by a local artist representing a time long gone. The wines I tried were the Evenstad Reserve, 2009 and 2012 Pinot Noir they had red fruits on the nose and pallet yet was beautifully spicy as well. The heat of the 2009 vintage was evident and will ensure the wine lasts for many years to come.

My last visit was to The Four Graces, a wine we use in the wine class to show the style of Oregon Pinot Gris. Unlike the previous wineries the tasting room for Four Graces is on the valley floor at the edge of the town of Dundee. The tasting experience here was warm and friendly, relaxed yet intense with site specific details. Here I did not stay with only Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc from their various vineyards but of course tried their Pinot Noirs as well. Of outstanding mention was the Black Family Estate wines Though they are labeled as Willamette Valley they are predominately Dundee. This was among the most full body of the Pinots I tasted on this day and well worth my final stop.

As in many wine producing areas locally sourced food is of great importance. If you ever do get a chance to visit the Willamette Valley be sure to have lunch at Red Hills Market  They offer local food at great prices. The roasted ham sandwich with honey butter and melted gruyere was a treat as was the salad made with those local filberts that seem to be everywhere. Finish with a Stumptown coffee and then head back to Portland.

So, as I sit and write this post I am happy to add another wine region to my travels, another experience spent talking to people with passion and a deep understanding of their vineyards and wine. I love that in so many of the wine regions I have traveled there is outstanding locally sourced food and art that inspires. Wine has a way of bringing the best of what is available to one place and that is evident in Willamette Valley.

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