Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tour

For the experiential learning analysis, I visited Mount Gay Rum Distillery in Barbados, West Indies.

MGR maintains an active social media presence and encourages visitors to document their visits using their signature hashtags.

As stated on their official website, Mount Gay rum originated in the Caribbean island of Barbados in 1703 (mountgayrum). Plantation owners in the 1700s were known for creating a fiery spirit (an early distillation of what we now know as rum), Kill Devil, that was not easy to swallow. Their process of distillation had not yet been perfected. It was the contribution of John Gay, a service man and friend of distillery owner John Sober, that perfected the rum, making it a major source of income for their economy.

The tour I attended was led by a young native named Rahmal. He was so passionate about everything discussed, making it clear that his position in the company was more than just a job, but his life! He was very informed about everything related to Mount Gay’s products and its creation process. He shared fun facts, answered all questions in depth, and shared with the group that he has been studying beverages for years now.

This is the first sign tour goers see upon entry of the Mount Gay Rum distillery. Also, photographed is the rum punch given to tour goers.

Rahmal taught the group the art of serving each variant of rum, the importance of not mixing with sodas, and the need to serve rum at warm temperatures are it was created in hotter temperatures than other spirits. He shared rum infused baking recipes with the group, his favorite being rum pancakes.

The tour began in a room filled with large, mounted photos and descriptions explaining the history of rum on the Island. The photos and descriptions were hung clockwise in chronological order starting with the initial creation of rum, the introduction of John’s Gay’s contributions to perfecting distillation, and ending with the rum we know and love today.

Upon entry, guests were given small cups of rum punch to indulge in while we listened to the Mount Gay backstory that was dictated by our tour guide. The second portion of the tour took place in a mini theater where guests were invited to watch a 7-minute film about the distillation of the rum. The tour then went on to a rum tasting and pairing with 4 out of their 5 rums. Their 5th rum, 1703 Master Select, was not included in the tasting as it is the most sophisticated of the line and highest priced. The tour then ended with a full Barbadian buffet dinner accompanied by all of the rums tasted earlier.

The earliest version of the still used at this site. They now use a much larger version.

Mount Gay has made it a point to keep the actual distillation of the spirit out of the public’s eye. According to their tour guides and brand ambassadors, it is a federal crime to enter the actual facility in which the distillation takes place. As fate would have it, there was a company wide meeting and production was suspended the day that I attended the tour. This resulted in Rahmal taking our small group into the actual distillery to have a glance at what their pot stills look like.

The distillery itself was much smaller than I expected. But to my surprise, this wasn’t the only distillation site in Barbados. This is the one that produces and bottles the rum sold at this site/tourist attraction. Considering the site itself is quite small, this made sense.

Revisiting the second portion of the tour, the video was informative but not in depth enough for people who study the making of spirits. I was later granted a one on one interview with a brand ambassador on a different day by complete luck- we just so happened to be on the same cruise later that week.

This is the information I later learned form Mount Gay Rum’s brand ambassador, Dario Prescod- all of which is done at a remote¬†location at the northern most tip of the island, in the town¬†of Saint Lucy’s,¬†16 miles away.

Here is a wall decal, explaining the coral filtered water used in the creation of Barbadian rum.

The fermentation itself was explained to be a molasses from hand cut sugar cane, coral filtered water found deep beneath the surface, and an exclusive proprietary strain of yeast mixture. According to National Geographic, Barbados has a long history of having an abundance of sugarcane which has contributed to a prosperous economy (nationalgeographic). This sugarcane led to the introduction of black gold, better known as molasses. Barbados is a country full of rich soil and vegetation, beneath which are natural layers of coral. The coral beneath the land’s surface serve as a natural filter for the water used throughout the island. This water is then filtered three more times to ensure absolute purity. Additionally, there are two fermentation processes that ensure Mount Gay rum has a unique taste. They exercise controlled and open air fermentation.

Closed fermentation is integral to perfecting Mount Gay’s signature formula. It consists of a two-stage process that is performed by experts who dump selected yeast into a prefermenter container. After, experts move the fully grown yeast in to a new container for fermentation. This way, the wash or liquid product of fermentation can be closely observed (stillspirits). The product is ready for distillation at 7-10% ABV, takes anywhere from 36-48 hours to be distilled in column (continuous) stills, producing single distillates.

Wall of tools and barrels used during the fermentation, collection, and storage processes.

The open-air formula differs in that it is done outdoors, atop a grassy hill in 5 wooden vats. What makes this method unique is that the fermentation and yeast growth is controlled solely by the environment, which cannot be duplicated anywhere else as Barbados’ environment is exclusive to them. The open-air product is ready for distillation at 6-8% ABV, takes anywhere from 36-72 hours to be distilled in pot stills, producing double distillates (esquire).

Essentially, the stills separate the alcohol from water in a fermented liquid. The introduction of a heating element boils the liquid and causes vapors containing alcohol to rise into the boiling chamber. It is then moved into a condenser where the vapor is returned to its liquid state, and deposited into a collector.

Rum was originally transported in these glass bottles. During that time it was discovered that rum tastes better once aged; prompting the introduction of barrel aging.

The blending of both products results in a rum that is deep, smooth, aromatic, and full bodied with scent profiles of banana, mocha, vanilla, almond, and lots of citrus. Additionally, the use of both distillation techniques results in less congeners and sulfurs that come about during the process.

Following all of this, the finished products are aged in toasted white oak barrels that are created both in America and in Barbados. Master blender, Allen smith has been with Mount Gay for over 30 years and is the sole say so on whether a barrel is ready for bottled. It was explained that it takes a trained nose to tell if the rum has been matured fully. This can range anywhere between six months and 3 years depending on the climate and the type of still the rum was created in. Pot still often needs longer to mature before being released to the drinking public.

Rahmal and I behind the bar during the tasting.

According to both Rahmal and Dario, there are two Scottish and two Spanish pot stills that are managed by the same operator for more than thirty years. After one full day, each still produces enough rum to fill 45 oak barrels.

Learning all of this following the tour only helped to connect the dots I may have missed the day of the tour and tasting. Overall, the tour itself was a lovely experience. I highly recommend it to anyone vacationing there regardless of having an interest in beverages or not. The staff there are extremely friendly and knowledgeable of their products. Thanks to Rahmal and Dario, I learned and understand the process of distillation.

Friends and I posing with head mixologist at Mount Gay, Steven.

 

References:

Mount Gay Rum. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2017, from                                                             http://www.mountgayrum.com/#/section/heritage

Still, S. (n.d.). Making a Wash. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from                                                   https://stillspirits.com/pages/how-to-make-a-wash

Society, National Geographic. “Barbados Facts, Barbados Flag.” National Geographic. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition, n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.

Wondrich, D. (2015, February 13). The Two Best Ways to Get Drunk This Weekend.                 Retrieved May 25, 2017, from http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/drinks/a8498/pot-           stills-vs-column-stills-1010/

(David explains the difference between the pot and the continuous still, as well as               which spirit each machine is used to produce.)

Brooklyn Brewery (Updated)

I have been fortunate throughout my school years (and they are plenty) to have visited some very interesting places and this one is in my top ten. The Brooklyn Brewery which has been famous for what else, its beer. Most notably, the Brooklyn Lager. But this was not just a visit where I would go and have fun and take pictures and drink my favorite beverage: beer. I was going to make this an educational experience and tell you more about the brewing process, the marketing material, the ingredients, the tasting process and hopefully post some colorful pictures to back all this up because we tend to learn more visually, scientists say.To start, I would like to give a brief history of the Brooklyn Brewery. It was started in 1988 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. They had a contract with the Matt Brewing Company in Upstate New York and from there they would sell their beer to other distributing companies (brooklynbrewery). They then acquired a former matzo factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and turned it into a functional brewery since 1996.
I had the opportunity to book a small batch tour for $15 on a Tuesday afternoon from 5PM to 7PM. There were about 15 people in our group which was very comfortable for our host, Tim Rozmus to show us around, talk to us about the variety of beers, where they get their ingredients and show us the production process. We had the chance to taste four beers in their tasting room which was essentially a spacious bar with no cash register and benches all around for people to sit and socialize like in any beer establishment. Beer drinkers tend to talk a lot. Let’s begin our analysis with the basics.”Most beers are made up of four basic ingredients: 1) barley which is processed into malt, then brewed, 2) hops which are added during brewing to balance the malt with a more bitter flavor, 3) yeast, which adds carbonation and alcohol content during fermentation and 4) water (Escoffieronline).
The most basic distinction to make in a beer is whether it’s an ale or a lager, which is determined by how the yeast ferments during the brewing process (Escoffieronline). We learned that beers are brewed in tanks (which I have pictures of). In ales the yeast ferments at the top of the tank, which is called top-fermenting. The brewing of ales is done in warmer environments, generally between 60 and 72 degrees fahrenheit, which makes the yeast brew more quickly and causes more flavorful, complex and generally darker beers. Whereas in lagers there is bottom-fermenting which means the yeast ferments at the bottom of the tank. Lagers are brewed in colder temperatures for a longer time than ales which causes the yeast to produce fewer of the compounds that add flavor. This gives rise to more crispier, less complex beers.
As for the styles of ales they are separated into pale ales and india pale ales (IPA’s) which are known for being very hoppy and light in color. Then we have the stouts and porters which are very dark beers but not necessarily heavy. Stouts tend to have a roasted malt or caramel flavor whereas porters have roasted coffee, chocolate and bitter flavors. The last ale style is the wheat beer which are very common in Germany and are light colored but heavy on the palate with natural flavors like fruits and vanilla (beeradvocate.com)
For our lager styles we have two types: the pilsners and the ambers. Pilsners are pale and medium bodied with crisp and slightly hoppy flavors. Ambers are darker and reddish in color with some maltiness and generally have light fruit flavors (Escoffieronline).
At the brewery we had the chance to taste the Brooklyn Lager, the Brooklyn Summer Ale, the Serpent and the Tangerine Wit. The Brooklyn Lager is their flagship beer. “It is amber gold in color and has a refreshing bitterness and floral hop aroma and a caramel malt finish” (brooklynbrewery).¬†“The Summer Ale is a flavorful pale ale made with British barley and capped off with German and American hops to provide clean bitterness and a bright, floral aroma” (brooklynbrewery). The Serpent is a Belgian style golden ale or “Champagne Beer” as Tim mentioned, which is aged on cider lees in bourbon barrels for more than a year then bottle conditioned similar to the Champagne method. Then finally we tried the Tangerine Wit, a wheat beer that has been brewed with tangerine peels from Jeju Island in South Korea, “this beer has a¬†sunny aroma and orange notes and a slightly herbal spice on the finish” (brooklynbrewery).
Our guide Tim gave us a lesson on how to taste and enjoy a beer which was rather surprising as I knew we only do this with wine but I was mistaken. There are four main things that we need to do: first you should raise the beer in front of you but not in direct sunlight as that dilutes its true color and describe its color and consistency and just appreciate the way it looks. Second, “swirl the beer in the glass and this will agitate the aromas and stimulate carbonation” (beeradvocate). Third, take two quick sniffs then one with your mouth open, then only through your mouth and let olfaction guide you and enjoy the bouquet of aromas. And lastly sip the beer but do not swallow immediately. Let the beer go all over the taste buds of your tongue and try to detect the various flavors and breathe out while you do that as this can help you detect any sweetness, saltiness, acids or general bitterness. “Try this again after the beer warms up a bit as cold beer tends to hide some of the flavors” (beeradvocate).
The brewery does in fact get hops and barley and other ingredients from many places around the United States and the world depending on what kind of beer they want to produce. It is a perfect example of what we learned in our wine class that the terroir plays a great role in the flavor of the wine so is the case if you use ingredients from a certain place to make beer. These will give the same characteristics to the beer itself. But our guide, Tim, emphasized that they never thought about using any other type of water than New York City tap water, which he says is one of the finest waters in the world. I could not disagree with him but some of our tourist friends in our group looked a bit surprised.
The whole brewing process contains seven basic steps that almost all breweries follow. We will briefly explain them all. First is the mashing. Mashing takes place in a vessel called the mash tun. This is where the grains like malted barley are soaked in hot water for about an hour to release the sugars contained in them. “Releasing the sugars is vital as sugar is the food that yeast needs to produce alcohol during fermentation” (homebrewacademy).¬†Second is the sparging. In this step the grains are rinsed with hot water in order to extract any remaining sugar. Then the grains are separated from the rest of the liquid which is called lautering. This liquid is called the wort. Third step is to boil the wort. Boiling kills any micro-organisms and this is when the hops are added. The hops require boiling water in order to release their flavor components. When the hops are added this¬†will give different characteristics to the final product. Fourth step is the cooling of the wort. The liquid is rapidly cooled and then the yeast is added. Remember that the yeast does not survive in boiling temperatures. Fifth step is fermentation. This is where the yeast eats the sugars and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is released in the air and the alcohol stays in the beer. This takes about one to two weeks. Sixth step is the carbonation. The beer is almost ready for consumption but without some carbonation added the beer will taste flat. This is done by injecting carbon dioxide directly in the beer or by adding a small amount of sugar to the bottles, the residual yeast left in the bottles will consume the sugar and naturally carbonate the liquid by releasing CO2. This is called bottle conditioning. The last step is packaging. This is where the company will decide to can, keg or bottle their beer (homebrewacademy.com).
The Brooklyn Brewery itself does not market itself through television commercials or newspaper ads like other giants in the business like Budweiser. But relies on word of mouth and the support of its locals to drink its beer. The people who work there, like the tour guides, brewery workers, accountants, office workers, sales reps are all educated about their products at their brewery. This is an indication of pride and professionalism of a successful establishment. That I believe is why this brewery is doing great in the beer world.

REFERENCES:

Brewery, B. (n.d.). Welcome to Brooklyn : Brooklyn Brewery. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from http://brooklynbrewery.com/about/about-the-brewery

How To Taste Beer. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2017, from https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/taste/

Beer 101: A Basic Guide For Understanding Beer Styles. (2014, November 19). Retrieved May 25, 2017, from https://www.escoffieronline.com/beer-101-a-basic-guide-for-understanding-beer-styles/

(n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2017, from http://homebrewacademy.com/how-beer-is-made/

 

 

Outside the Brooklyn Brewery.

Once you walk in they have placed four 25 foot inactive fermentation tanks for d√©cor. That’s marketing!

Shop selling Brooklyn Brewery merchandise like shirts, bottle openers, wallets, glasses, key chains all with the Brooklyn Brewery logo.

Wallets, coasters, Key chains, bottle openers all with the Brooklyn Brewery logo. Great marketing!

The cone shaped metal container has all the barley and malt that is added to the fermentation tanks from above.

We can clearly see that all temperatures of the various processes during brewing are monitored.

The whole process of putting the beer in kegs and packaging them together is automated but there are workers there to ensure nothing goes wrong.

Our tour guide Tim in the background behind the bar lecturing us about the beers we were tasting.

This was the tasting room where you can see clearly how spacious it was and had its own real bar with beers on tap for us to try.

The whole facility is a huge array of pipes and machines that keep on working. Here is the machine that puts the beer in the kegs, very complex. The keg holds about 10 gallons of beer but the sizes vary if the merchant who purchased the beer orders bigger kegs. The Brooklyn Brewery sends beer to Norway and that beer is shipped in a huge container and then put in kegs over there. Tim told us it is much cheaper to do that. The quality of the beer is not changed.

This is the Brooklyn Lager in the glass that I had the chance to take home as a gift for participating in the tour.

Brooklyn Brewery Experience

Ryoko Yamaguchi
Beverage Experience
HMGT 2402/ Professor Goodlad


On May 13, I went to the Brooklyn Brewery where is located at 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 11249. They offer the free tour during weekend and open promptly at noon with free tours on the half hour from 1pm Р5pm (they charge for the tour by appointment during weekday). I arrived at 2 pm and got a ticket for the free tour but limited to 40 people every half hour, there already had a lone line when I arrived, waited about 30 minutes and I attended the tour by 3 pm. However, I was in the back of line so unfortunately, it was hard to catch the tour guide’s voice because about 40 people all together. But the guide who was very knowledgeable about beer and very professional of speaking skills. All 40 people paid attention to her and very organized with all people in one place. She made a joke, got us fun and interested. She mostly explained about history,however, I felt like I needed more information about beer making process. The below that is all as much as I could get the information from her.

Started in 1988 by 2 guys, one served on the army the other an investment banker supply 30% of Brooklyn Lager produced keg machine makes 60 kegs per hour. The ingredient is water, hops, yeast, sugar, fermentation and roasted malt darker roast gives a darker color beer. Also use wheat and rye to make beer.


60 kegs/hour


The beer making process is 1. Mashing 2. Lautering 3. Boiling the wort 4. Cooling the wort 5. Fermentation 6. Carbonation 7. Aging and bottling


IPA stands for India Pale Ale, it is more bitter in taste because of the hops which is a natural preservative used in the 1,800 to preserve beer shipped to England from India. Shipping took a long time, so the beer would spoil, they added more hops it makes the beer little more bitter to taste.


To begin the fermentation process, the cooled wort is transferred into a fermentation vessel to the yeast has already been added. If the beer being made is an ale, the wort will be maintained at a constant temperature of 65-70 degrees for about two weeks. If the beer is a lager, the temperature will be maintained at 45-50 degrees for about six weeks. Since fermentation produces a substantial amount of heat, the tanks must be cooled constantly to maintain the proper temperature. These fermentation tanks hold more than 2,400 gallons, which means that it takes four batches of wort to fill one tank.


I tasted the dark ale (sorry I forgot to take picture of the beer… ) Dark ale is forged of rugged roast malts and resilient herbal hops to create a light yet robust beer. Taste like dark chocolate and dark coffee not so bitter, smooth and easy to drink, mild and full bodied. Alcohol volume is 3.4%. Food Pairings is grilled meats, barbecue chicken, toasted marshmallows, spinach salads, and cheddar cheese. (Brooklyn Brewery Website)

It is additional information about the history, in 1982 in London, Gallet Oliver is introduced to the intimacies of British beer in the city’s pubs. In 1984, in Cairo , AP foreign correspondent Steve Hindy moves back to Brooklyn from the middle east, where he discovered homebrewing. In 1986, in New York, Hindy and partner Tom Patter raise money for a new microbrewery with their Milton Glaser-designed bottle label; among the investors is Hindy’s colleague, Washington post middle east correspondent David Ottaway. In 1988, in Brooklyn, the first shipment of Brooklyn Lager greets the crowd at Teddy’s in Williamsburg. In 1989, in Tokyo, an enterprising beer fan starts air shipping Brooklyn lager to Tokyo for sale. In 1994, in Boston Brooklyn Brewery establishes a distribution company in Boston run by brother Eric and Robin Ottaway, sons of David Ottaway. In 1996, in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Brewery’s official ribbon cutting for the Garrett Olive designed Williamsburg facility is held, with the mayor presiding over a crowd of dignitaries and journalists. In 2003, in Copenhagen, Brooklyn Brewmaster Garret Oliver wins the Semper Ardens award for brewing excellence. In 2014, in Stockholm, Brooklyn’s sister Brewery, Nya Carnegiebryggeriet opens, with a new line of beers for Sweden. In 2014, in Chicago, Garrett Oliver wins the James Beard Award for outstanding spirits, wine or beer professional, making him the first brewer to win a James Beard Award. In 2016, in Trondheim, Norway, E.C. Dahl’s Brooklyn’s second sister brewery, extends the family. In 2017, in Jeju Island, south Korea, the stage is set to open Brooklyn’s third sister brewery, Jeju Brewing Co. (Brooklyn Brewery Website)

References

B, B. (2017). Homebrew Academy. Retrieved from How Beer is Made: http://homebrewacademy.com/how-beer-is-made/

Brooklyn Brewery. (2004). Retrieved from http://brooklynbrewery.com/

NICE, K. (2017). HOWSTUFFWORKS SCIENCE. Retrieved from How Beer Works: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/beer4.htm

 


Pindar Vineyard- Update

Why do we study wine? As a beginner of tasting wine, there are some significant benefits. We will become more confident buying wine and be able to taste differences in quality. Of course, learning to identify wine quality can be so eye-opening that you may never see a lot wine the same again (Winefolly, 2016). My friends and I drove two hours to visit a vineyard. It is called Pindar Vineyard. Pindar Vineyard is located at 37645 Main Road Peconic, Long Island, NY, 1195

.       

After arrived at the vineyard, I saw beautiful clouds above the sky. The vineyard is really big.  As I walked into the vineyard, the whole room was toned and decorated with wood color and all of the wines were represented by categories in grape variety and blends. The employee Terry has assisted us with all our questions. We explained the reason why we were here and she was really kind to help us. However, it was disappointed because Terry told us they do not open tour service until May 27th. Even though we did not get a chance to visit inside the barrel and the view of the production facility, but Terry tried her best to answer our questions and showed us other things that was interested.

   wine section

The tasting room and bar service.

 All different kind of bottle opener

Terry started from introducing the background of vineyard. It was opened in 1979. At Pindar, ‚Äúwe strive to create more impactful wines with less impact on the environment.‚Ä̬†There were 15 grape varieties are grown in this vineyard: Pindar grows Sauvignon Blanc, pinot Noir, Chardonnay (steel fermented), Riesling, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Their vinification process is the same as most wineries. Vinification means the wine making, how the wines are made (Karen Macneil 2015). ¬†As we walked around the room, we saw that there is a table with many kinds of corkscrew and bottle opener. We also had the opportunity to see the tasting area even though we did not taste the wines. Terry said that if we did the wine tasting, then we could select five different kinds of wine from the menu. There were two wines that Terry recommended to people who try wines for the first time. Scarlett is a red sweeter wine that cost $12.99 and she also recommended Viognier because it is unique and extremely good.

 Vineyard

After, Terry took us to outside of the vineyard to see the vine. Unfortunately, we did not see any grapes grew. We also have the opportunity to see the stainless tanks.

 the vineyard in the Pindar stainless tanks

Although, the tour is not available we still have a lot fun with this lovely weather. However, I have better understanding of the vineyard and the visuals of how the wine are made. The environment and experience make me want it come back visit again.

Work cited:

Pindar Vineyards. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2017, from https://www.pindar.net/

MacNeil, K. (2015). The wine bible (Revised Second ed.).

Improve Your Wine Knowledge as a Beginner I Winefolly. (2016, October 13). Retrieved May 23, 2017, from http://winefolly.com/review/how-to-improve-your-wine-knowledge-as-a-beginner/

 

 

Retail Wine

I visited Heights Chateau located on 123 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY. Heights Chateau  is a neighborhood store known for personal service, various selection of wine, value and most importantly prestige taste. The retail wine store is simple and classic with loyal customers that is led by Matthew LaSora, who is an assistant in the store that helps customers for spirit and sensibility, He gives guidance due to customers due to the  2000 wine selection as well as providing the perfect bottle at the right temperature along with the right price.

As I entered the store, I noticed that there were labels on each row of the shelf based on the countries around the world as well as labels for restricted diets. As seen in the pictures below:

I spoke with the store manager, Tony, who worked at Heights Chateau for 28 years. Tony gave recommendation of his favorite wines as well as informing me about more wines. Throughout the visit, I could tell that he knew how to upsell the wine as well as figuring out which wines to have in their store was determined through tastings, and price.

Tony continued informing me about the higher quality wines and how they were placed lying down, on its side and others were placed in the fridge. Based on what we learned in class, I believed wines should be best placed lying down on its side to moisten the cork, rather than sitting upright. Also, wine bottles should be placed in a dim-lit area so the wine would not change in temperature, taste, or growing molds.

Tony’s knowledge and excellent and friend service made the experience nice. Being in the store, learning about his store, and how to sell wine was a good experience to go through because I learned more information about the retail wine.

Although I enjoyed visiting Heights Chateau, there are some improvements that many help the wine store better. I believe some wines were misplaced and did not contain labels on some red, white and sparlings.

 

https://www.heightschateau.com/about-us.html

Martha Clara Vineyard

 

Martha Clara Vineyard

 

On a beautiful Friday afternoon, I took a trip to the North fork of Long Island. This area of Long island is a gorgeous stretch of A.O.C. wineries, produce farms and horse ranches. Roughly 2/3rds of New York wines come from the Finger Lakes located upstate.  New York is most often recognized as a white wine producing state however Long Island is mostly known for their red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (Starwood)

On my trip, I decided to visit Martha Clara Vineyard. When I entered, my eyes were immediately drawn to the relaxing, country décor and many display cases of local honeys, jams and cheeses. This gave me a full sense of community.

After drifting into the tasting room, I was approached by a very professional and friendly gentleman by the name of Travis. Travis was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the vineyard the Viticulture and Vinification.

He began by telling me the Vineyard was founded by the Entenmann’s family (yes, the delicious, buy one get one free cakes you can’t resist while food shopping). After this tid-bit of information I truly fell in love. Originally the farm was a thoroughbred horse ranch, it soon transformed into a vineyard to compete with the neighbors.

Travis went on to tell me that Long Island had wonderful growing conditions due to its sandy loam soil and its maritime sea breezes that naturally aerate the vineyards. Sandy soils are beneficial to vineyards because of its ability to drain well and hold in heat.  It also naturally helps the plants stay pest free encouraging greener growing techniques. (MacNeil)The vines a grown at mid-wire cordon training system.

They have a wide variety of grapes that have had great success in this regions soil and climate. These include:

Whites-                -Semillon             -Gewurztraminer            

                            -Viognier             -Pinot Grigio

                            -Riesling               -Sauvignon Blanc

Reds–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†-Cab Sauvignon¬†¬†¬†-Merlot

                            -Cabernet Franc    -Malbec

He explained how they ferment their wine in large double layered stainless-steel tanks. Between the layers or steel a coolant is pumped through to regulate the temperature of the wine during this process.  The idea is to conserve the delicate aromas that can potentially be lost if the fermentation process is at too high of a temperature. (Zraly) When the fermentation is complete the then transfer their wine in to oak aging barrels.

While speaking with Travis a few guests started to trickle in and I started to eaves drop and watch the service of a wine tender named Brienne. I could tell that she really knew the ins and out of the products they offered the guests. I could tell be the graceful way she opened a fresh bottle of Merlot that she was veteran of the business. The knowledge and professionalism of the staff was top notch.

The most popular wines sold at Martha Clara are:

Northville Red Blend, this would pair great with Bison. Medium Acid with a lean red protein.

Chardonnay Island Series Reserve, Light and sweet and would pair nicely with cheeses and seafood.

Sauvignon Blanc Island Series, Light and dry and would pair nicely with salads and shellfish.

It was refreshing to meet normal, down to earth people at the Martha Clara vineyard. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and it seemed that educating the guests about the wine itself was equally as important as serving it.

 

Sources:

Starwood, J.T. (2009). Long Island Wine Country. Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing, LLC

Zraly, K. (2010). Windows on the World, Complete Wine Course. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company

MacNeil, K. (2016) The Wine Bible. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Co.

 

A Tour of Brotherhood Winery – America’s Oldest Winery!

For this assignment, I decided to visit Brotherhood Winery, America’s oldest winery with a friend of mine who would help me with the tasting (she was very happy to oblige!).

Brotherhood Winery has been open since 1839 and is located at 100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive in Washingtonville, New York. The drive was about one and a half hours, going north from New York City.

After we arrived, the people there greeted us very warmly and asked if we would be part of the tour that was coming up in a few hours. We gladly accepted and experienced something that was truly outstanding!

The underground cellars were dug in 1839. They are considered to be the oldest and largest in America and are still in use by the Brotherhood winery today. Jesse and Edward Emerson named the winery ‚ÄúBrotherhood‚ÄĚ when they took control of the establishment, selling wine for religious purposes. Almost one hundred years later, in 1921, Louis Farell purchased the winery and began conducting tours and hosting parties there (‚ÄúHistory,‚ÄĚ n.d.).

The winery is now owned by Cesar Baeza, a Chilean wine educator and consultant, and welcomes people from all over the Northeastern United States, with 100,000 visitors and between 60,000 and 80,000 cases sold each year (Sayegh, 2008).

A tour and tasting pass costs $10, while tasting flights go for $7 with a Brotherhood wine glass to take home. Additional tastings are $5 and the simple tour pass is $6 (‚ÄúHistory,‚ÄĚ n.d.).

The tour guides explained that their winery does not have a single vineyard, in fact their source of grapes comes from the Finger Lakes and Long Island regions. The grapes they receive from Long Island AVAs are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon while the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling come from the Finger Lakes AVAs. Although they lack a vineyard, they do have a few rows of vines in front of their property that are used for experimenting and studying. The grapes harvested from the Long Island and Finger Lakes AVAs arrive by trucks and are processed as if they were grown on the spot. Quality control is done in their lab to test the levels of sugar, acidity and alcohol of the wines after processing.

The winery had a 700-gallon cask made mainly of American oak, but stopped using it due to unpracticality. Now they use stainless steel and oak barrels made of French and American oak. The French oak gives off flavors of vanilla, fruit, and toasty almonds, while heavy flavors of chocolate and tobacco are given off by the American oak. The stainless steel barrels are used for the white wines in order to not impact their flavor.

The winery started producing wine before the advent of technology, thus corking and labeling had to be done manually. They still use three types of caps: the traditional cork which they use for the expensive wine; the synthetic cork; and the trusty screw cap for cheaper varieties. There is also a separate room named the ‚ÄúGrand Monarque Hall‚ÄĚ, where they keep their sparkling wine.

During our tour, guests were offered five different wines. The first wine was called Carpe Diem Spumante, which is a sparkling wine light in color with notes of vanilla and florals. The second was the Sweet Lolly White that had a straw yellow color with aromas of candy, hence its name. The third one was a Sweet Lolly Red and (according to my friend) tasted very similar to the white version. The fourth one was named May Day and had a pink/red color, was fairly light bodied and (apparently) had hints of floral on the palate. The fifth and last one was the Brotherhood‚Äôs signature wine called May Wine, which was made with Concord grapes, something I thought was interesting and uncommon. It had strong aromas of strawberries and woodruff, and tasted almost like liquefied strawberry jam. Indeed, according to Wine Folly (2015), ‚ÄúConcord wines are perhaps best as a sweet wine with a deep red color, high acidity and aromas like strawberry, fruit-punch, violets and musk‚ÄĚ.

This assignment was a great excuse to learn about wine outside of our wine class and, since I enjoy going upstate quite often (being from Canada), it’s certainly a place I’d like to visit again!

The Underground Cellar at Brotherhood Winery

 

The Tasting Room at Brotherhood Winery

 

Rows of Vines in Front of the Winery

 

Wine on Display

 

A Brotherhood Wine Glass

 

References:

History. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2017 from the Brotherhood Winery webpage: http://www.brotherhoodwinery.com/aboutUsHistory.html

Native Wine Grapes of North America. (October 12, 2015). In Wine Folly. Retrieved from http://winefolly.com/review/native-wine-grapes-of-america

Sayegh, B. (2008, May 15). Brotherhood Winery in Hudson Valley; Rich in History and Wine. Spectrum News, Hudson Valley. Retrieved May 23rd, 2017 from http://www.twcnews.com/nys/hudson-valley/explore-ny/2015/05/5/brotherhood-winery–america-s-oldest-winery.html

Macari Wineyard (North Folk LI)

I had the chance to visit Macari Vineyard located at 150 Bergen Avenue Mattituck, NY

Macari Vineyard goes back from the 30’s and 40’s when Joseph Macari Sr. started making wine in the basement with father and grandfather in Corona Queens. In the 60’s they purchased a 500 acre from a former potato farm in Long Island. After 30 years of growing grapes and producing wine they hoped on and moved out to North Folk and started to plant vines.

Joseph studied with bio dynamic viticulture which is also known as organic farming, with the studies that he gathered he knows the health of the plants, character of the grapes the living soil, and produce some if the best fruit on the east coast.

Image result for macari vineyard ny

Image from Google

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Front Lawn of Macari Vineyard

It was about an hour and a half ride to get to Macari Vineyard, I didn’t feel it much because I had taken a nap. The sky was blue with some nice light clouds. When we arrived it felt very homey, very countryside and relaxed. When I walked in there was this huge display of their 2016 Rose Wine. They had wooden barrels below them to support the weight, also cute gift bags and decorations around them.

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2016 Rose Wine

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Macari Front Display

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Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

 

After looking around someone finally came to us and introduce herself. Me and my friend did call previously if they offered a tour but they said they weren’t available for tours, we mentioned it again but the tour wasn’t available. So we just told her we were on a school assignment and wanted to explore some tastings. She was excited to give us some tastings and pulled out a what looked like a menu.

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Macari Body Wines

It was organized in three different categories from light body wines, to medium, and full body. We decided to go with the Medium bodied wines for $25 which included, Sauvignon Blanc 15′, Chardonnay Estate 13′, Rose 15′, Carbernt Franc 13′ & Merlot Reserve 10′. Right before getting to the tasting they asked us if we want to purchase some cheese and crackers for the tasting. We decided to purchase some Honey Lavender Fromage Blanc and Crostini Tuscan Crackers.

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Honey Lavender Fromage Blanc & Crostini Tuscan Crackers

The first wine that we tasted was the Sauvignon Blanc 2015 produced from a steel barrel which is where Macari Vineyard Produces their wine. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a photo of the steel barrel because it was in the back room which we weren’t allowed to go in to. Back to the wine, being underage I wasn’t able to taste the wine but I did get the chance to smell it. Swirling it, it had medium viscosity, it was day bright and smelled very clean. I smelled green apples, lime, very much in the citrus side.

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Sauvignon Blanc 2015 North Folk of LI

The next wine that we tasted was Chardonnay 2013 produced as mentioned previously in a steel barrel. The viscosity was also medium, It was day bright as well with hints of lime green. The smell was clean, and had hints of peach and vanilla.

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Chardonnay 2013 North Folk of LI

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Rose 2015 North Folk of LI

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2010 Merlot Reserve

We came to upon the 4th wine which was the 2010 Merlot reserve, in which I remembered in class we touched on that. When a wine has reserve on the front label is because it’s said to be the wine has a higher quality than usual, or a wine that has been aged before being sold. When I asked the lady who was attending us, she said the meaning reserve here doesn’t have much meaning as it does for wines in France for say.

After exploring a bit, and smelling a few wines, it was time to head back home this was a very educational trip because it helped me know the aromas of each wine, something I never looked into before taking this wine class. In the future I would come out and by then be able to try the wine and learn more about it mouth wise.

 

Beverage Production Experiential Learning Analysis – Kings County Distillery (Brooklyn, NY)

Backyard Area

 

 

I have decided to visit the Kings County Distillery located in Brooklyn Navy Yards (299 Sands Street). Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery which was founded in 2010. They have been making handmade moonshine, bourbon, and other whiskeys since after prohibition (http://kingscountydistillery.com).

They offer tours and tastings Tuesday through Sunday afternoons from 3pm ‚Äď 5pm that can last 45 minutes through an hour. However, their tasting room is open every day which offers all the whiskey and moonshine they make and a few bar snacks. The tours costs $15 and you can conveniently book them online, the tour already gives you admission to their ‚ÄúBoozeum‚ÄĚ which is a small mini museum they put in a room that gives information about whiskey prohibition, its‚Äôs history and culture.¬†I was lucky enough to meet Colin Spoelman, one of the co-founders of Kings County distillery which started the business in his home as a hobby being a micro distiller. He walked me into a guide with a tour group and it was a pretty amazing experience. I can see the passion this person puts into his craft.

Boozeum

Moonshine

 

 

 

 

Main Distillery Room – Cooker

 

The main distillery floor is where all the whiskey is made. The main ingredient would be a grain and their main product is bourbon. To be called bourbon, it has to be 51% by law and Kings County’s bourbon is made from 70% corn. They get their organic corn from a farm in upstate New York. Their corn is milled with a roller mill instead of the traditional hammer mill which would mean that they have to cook their corn a little longer but imparts better flavor. They also use malted barley, which their recipe calls for a high malt percentage and they only use corn and malted barley. They have made a rye whiskey in the past and also single malt.

Open fermenters

 

 

The whiskey making process starts with the cooker which holds 250 gallons of water, 300 pounds of corn and 55 pounds of malt. The water and corn mixture is brought to a boil, steeped for an hour, brought down to a lower temperature and then added with the malt. It is pumped through a separator which separates the liquid and the spent grain. The liquid gets pumped into a fermenter which will then get sprinkled with yeast. They are using open fermenters so that they can do large volumes without cooling it down and exposes the fermentation into wild yeast which can help expedite fermentation.

copper stills

The process then proceeds to the distillation process where two copper stills do double distillation which imparts a rich textural flavor. One still cooks the fermented liquid, turns it to steam then travel into a condenser and then comes out whiskey. It is then filled into a barrel which could be a charred new oak barrel if they are making bourbon (written in the law). However, varying sizes of barrel can mean how long they can age the whiskey which means the larger the barrel, the longer they can age the whiskey. It takes years for whiskey to age so they are trying to fill a lot of barrels to be put into inventory for the future

Barrels waiting to be filled

 

The tour ended with some tasting of the whiskeys they carry. This also gave us a bit of a background how the pricing for the product is made and some pairing recommendations. I was able to try this chocolate whisky which was also suggested to be used in baking purposes. Overall, I have enjoyed my visit and even purchased a bottled moonshine for $20 as a souvenir.

 

References:

Ocejo, R. E. (2017). Masters of craft: old jobs in the new urban economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

The Whiskey Guy. Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. Youtube. retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6g8WWdqF9M

Kings County Distillery. Products. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2017, from http://kingscountydistillery.com/products/

 

Beverage Production Experiential Learning Analysis

For my Beverage Production experiential learning analysis, I wasn‚Äôt able to visit a vineyard, so therefore I visited a brewery instead. I decided to visit J.J. Bitting Brewing Co. located at 33 Main Street, Woodbridge NJ. J.J Bitting Brewing is a restaurant, as well as a brewery for almost 20 years, it opened in 1997. The brewer, his name was mike showed me just about the whole brewing process during my visit to J.J. Bitting Brewing Co. Mike started off by showing me the 3 vessels that are located in the 3rd floor of the restaurant. Those 3 vessels are the Mashtun, which is the sweet liquid called Wort, is extracted from the malted barley. The sweet Wort is then boiled in the Kettle for an hour and bittered with hops. After the boil, the bittersweet liquid is cooled and transferred to the fermentation room. And the 3rd vessel that is one the 3rd floor is the hot liquor which basically is a hot water tank. I was told ‚Äúliquor‚ÄĚ means water in the brewing process so basically the hot liquor is a hot water tank. The Brewer mike also mentioned, they use a 10-barrel system, which equals 310 gallons because one barrel is equivalent to 31 gallons.

The different combination of different barley makes the different types of beers. As well as the different hops that gets added in to different beers to make beers smell and taste different. IPA beers tend to be more bitter because they have more hops

The brewing process over at J.J Bitting Brewing begins off by weighing out and milling the malt. The crushed malt is then mixed into the mashtun. After all of its valuable starch and enzymes are extracted, which causes conversion of starch to sugar. Next stop is boiling the malted barley in the kettle. The barley and heat started as a starch mix which then gets converted into sweet water. The wort is boiled at 205 degrees Fahrenheit, for a minimum time of one hour. During this time is when the hops will be added. Hops is what gives off the bitterness as well as the flavor and aroma to the brew. It also depends on when you add the hops into the boiling kettle, it could either be in the beginning which will result in more bitterness, hops added near the end of the boil will result in more flavor and aroma.

After the wort is boiled in the kettle, it is cooled down to about 66 degrees Fahrenheit through heat exchangers as it makes its way down to the fermentation tanks. After fermentation the liquid is then transferred into serving tanks which is about the size of 19 full size kegs.

Some additional information about brewing that mike told me was: it takes about 7 hours to complete a brewing process, 80% of brewer’s job is cleaning. He mentioned to me it is very important to always clean the vessels and hoses. Yeast which is a living organism, can get infected if the tanks aren’t clean. Mike also mentioned to me he brews about once or twice a week. Over at J.J Bitting Brewing they have about 7 different types of beer mostly ales and some lagers. I sat down at the bar at the end of my tour and had two glasses of their Victoria golden ale. The Victoria golden ale is one of their lightest beers, it is lightly hopped with German varieties and has a dry, clean finish.

Mashtun, Kettle , Hot Liquor

Fermentation Tanks

Picture of boiling liquid inside the Kettle

Heat exchangers is what cools down the wort before it goes into the fermentation tanks

 

Reference

  • JJ Bitting’s 15th Anniversary Party is now a CAKE BOSS Episode!! (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://www.njbrewpubs.com/index.html

MacNeil, K. (2015). The wine bible. New York: Workman Publishing Co.