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 “Brotherhood” 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 (“History,” 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 (“History,” 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 “Grand Monarque Hall”, 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’s 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), “Concord wines are perhaps best as a sweet wine with a deep red color, high acidity and aromas like strawberry, fruit-punch, violets and musk”.

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 – 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 “Boozeum” which is a small mini museum they put in a room that gives information about whiskey prohibition, its’s 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’t 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 “liquor” 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Winery Visit – Pindar Vineyards

I could probably say studying wine is one of the most important connections you can make with society and people. Wine is commonly introduced everywhere; in friends’ houses, in clubs, in socializing activities, in restaurants and even more. Wine is classified as more elegant and classy compared to beer and spirits that are more rough and extreme because people who enjoy wine are not only drinking wine for amusement, but also respecting and understanding the process of viticulture and vinification of each grape variety in a bottle of wine. To learn more about oenology and viticulture I thought it is essential to visit a winery or a vineyard at lease once in a lifetime.

Vineyard

“There are over 1000 varieties of wine grapes in the world.” (Scott Washburn, 2013) Not all vineyards grow every variety of grapes; most vineyard owners can only consider those grape varieties that are suitable to grow under the climate as well as the popularity of those grape varieties. Out of about 430 wineries and distilleries in New York, I have chosen Pindar Vineyards as my designated vineyard to visit. It is located at 7645 NY-25, Peconic, NY 11958.

I invited three classmates from my wine class to experience the fantasy at the “factory” to see how exactly a wine is make from harvesting all the way to bottling and selling. On the day of the trip, we were able to discuss about the questions that we planned to ask a representative there. However, it was unfortunate that we weren’t able to receive a tour because the tour starts May 27, 2017 through September 2, 2017. So a lot of our questions about the process of making wine were unable to ask. Nevertheless, we were able to ask a few questions to Terry, one of their representatives that were tremendously professional and intelligent.

Wine Tasting Bar

Wine Selections

Terry suggested us to walk around the vineyard and take as much pictures as we can first, then come to her for the questions. She said “From my experience, I think you can get a much better understanding of my answers after you have seen what you will see soon.” So we did and I have to be honest, as a resident that has lived my life through this day in New York City, never have I ever seen a vineyard that is as big as Pindar Vineyards’. I couldn’t see the ending part of the vineyards, it is unbelievably enormous, and I was stunned by it.

Close shot

Pindar vineyards has a pretty long history, it started in the 1980s, according to the website and Terry, Pindar vineyards has about 17 varieties of wine grapes and makes about 23 originals and blends. With the opportunity given but was too unfortunate we were not able to do a brief wine tasting with Terry. She said it could’ve been a lot helpful if we tasted the blended wines so she could explain more about Pindar’s blends specifically. Terry also informed me that Pindar Vineyards has grape varieties like Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Mythology and more, but she pointed out that if she were going to recommend me a wine, terry said she’d recommend me 2016 Viognier. 2016 Viognier could be said to be their best at making and producing, it is a light white wine, fruity flavor, light and sweet.

2016 Viognier

Terry apologized to us for unable to give us a tour that day, but she did briefly explain their process. Pindar Vineyards are located near water, so the climate is pretty cool and you can consider it maritime, too. Similar to most vinification process, Pindar does the same but with a more natural planting and growing because the area’s weather supports the growth of grapes.

Overall, the experience was precious; I purchased 2016 Viognier home and shared with my family. I am definitely going back again once their tour starts. It is never late to study about wine, and its never ending. The more I learn about wine, the deeper I will fall in love with because the knowledge and the intelligence behind oenology and viticulture are what fascinate me every time I study wine.

Sweet Scarlet – Table Wine

The front of the tasting room

 

 

References

  • Washburn, Scott. “How Many Different Types Of Wine Grapes Are There? – Winestyr Wine Guide.” Winestyr,p., 17 Sept. 2013 Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

<http://www.winestyr.com/wine-guide/how-many-different-types-of-wine-grapes-are-there>.

Moët & Chandon in Champagne, France

In summer of 2016, I was accepted to participate in the Thomas Ahrens International Study Program in Paris, France. Throughout our stay in Paris we have been fortunate to explore and learn Paris’s renowned cuisine, fashion, popular landmarks, architecture, history, language, and many more. In addition, as students from Hospitality Management we had a chance to visit France’s historical province in the northeast of France, which is now best known as the Champagne wine region for the sparkling wine that bears its name. As a student who is currently enrolled in Wine and Beverage Management course, I decided to write about my educational experience to Champagne region of France, by bringing in the knowledge that I have gained from the class during this Spring 2017 semester.

The champagne caves was over 17 miles long.

In June 6, 2016, we had an opportunity to visit the two wineries that are located within the Champagne region: “Moët & Chandon” and “Champagne Geoffroy”. Our first stop was at Moët & Chandon located in Epernay, Champagne. It was about two-hour ride on the bus and is approximately 160 km north east of Paris. Upon entrance to the house of Moet & Chandon, we were introduced to our tour guide who was a Japanese lady, with full of knowledge about the house. Tour started off with a brief history of the house, followed by a short video. According to their website and my recall from the video, the Moët & Chandon has been the champagne of success since 1743. Faithful to its founding philosophy of “sharing the magic of champagne with the world”, Moët & Chandon offers a wide range of wines, from the iconic “Moët Impérial” and “Rosé Impérial” to the “Grand Vintages”, the cellar master’s own interpretation of the year’s harvest. (Moët & Chandon, Champagne, 2017).

After the video has ended, we walked through the 17 miles of underground cellars. Going down into the cave, we could immediately sense the cold 10°C (50 F) degrees’ air. The tour guide started by explaining the defining points of the Champagne region and Champagne making process which consisted of two fermentations. Since, I was a student who know next to nothing about wine, I did not understand what the tour guide was talking about. However, using my knowledge gained from the class, I can now explain the whole four methods of making the Champagne or the sparkling wine that consists of “Carbonation Method”, “Traditional Method” (better known as Méthode Champenoise); “Transfer Method”, and “Charmat Method” (also known as the Tank Method). The difference between Champagne and other sparkling wine, is that Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, and can only use three traditional grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. According to their website, each grape varietal contributes its own special qualities to the uniquely delectable pleasure of Moët & Chandon champagnes. Sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region go by many other names, but none of them are Champagne.

Rows of riddling racks filled with bottles, also known as Remuage (rotating the dead yeast cells ‘lees’ towards bottle neck).

This sign reads as follows: 1st line – wine master’s secret code, 2nd line – location in the caves, 3rd line – number of bottles in this group.

The enormous barrel of port (a gift from Napoleon to Moët from a trip in Portugal).

 

 

 

 

As we were walking through the dark alleyways lined with thousands of fermenting bottles, the tour guide explained the entire process of “Methode Champenoise” that starts off with the process known as Assemblage (the grapes are gently pressed to avoid any color extraction from the skins, next the juice is fermented to dryness, and the different wines are blended); Liqueur de tirage (yeast and sugar is added into the wine bottle to start the second fermentation); Remuage (rotating the dead yeast cells ‘lees’ towards bottle neck);  Disgorgement (freeze and remove ‘lees’ in bottleneck); the bottle is then topped off with a final dosage known as Liqueur d’ expedition (a mixture of wine and sugar that will determine the final sweetness level of the finished product), then corked, caged, and labeled.

As our tour continued, we entered the tasting room where the Champagne glasses were lined up, followed by tasting under the guidance of a professional sommelier (wine steward), who presented the three types of Champagnes that are “Imperial”, “Rose Imperial” and “Nectar Imperial”.  As I remember, we were given glasses of “Impérial Champagne” to taste. The Champagne we tasted was considered as non-vintage, light and delicate. The main difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagnes is that, the vintage is made from the grapes of only one year’s harvest, whereas non-vintage Champagne is a blend of different years’ harvest.

Tasting under the guidence of a professional sommelier.

Tasting, sample of the Impérial Champagne. 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift shop of Moet & Chandon.

 

Exiting the tasting room, we got back to the ground floor and have entered the fabulous gift shop of Champagne house Moët & Chandon, where we were exposed to all types of Champagnes that are produced there. The prices varied from low to very expensive.

To conclude, as a student who is enrolled in Wine and Beverage Management course, I was able to get a better understanding and use of wine terminology to explain about the entire process of making the sparkling wine, by recalling my visit to Champagne region of France, from summer of 2016. Even though, I did not have a basic knowledge about wine during my visit, I can still say that it was the most memorable and educational tours I have ever been part of. If there is an opportunity in the future, I would not hesitate to go there again and would recommend to anyone who enjoys or interested learning about wine.

References

Eat love Savor Luxury Lifestyle Magazine. DISCOVER: Moet & Chandon Champagne. Retrieved from EAT LOVE SAVOR: http://eatlovesavor.com/moet-chandon-champagne/

Moët & Chandon, Champagne. SUCCESS & GLAMOUR. Retrieved from Moët & Chandon: https://us.moet.com/The-House

Sparkling Wine Production. Retrieved from The Sommelier Update: http://arrowheadwine.blogspot.com/2012/06/sparkling-wine-production.html