Wine Making Journal

Reflection, Due Friday, October 18:

After visiting Red Hook Winery, what do you know about the various steps in the wine making process after harvest that you did not know before. Be specific about what you learned on the day of the visit to the winery.

4 Responses to Wine Making Journal

  1. Nicole says:

    Nicole Young
    October 15, 2013
    Reflection on Wine Tour

    Red Hook Site Visit

    Today for the first time I visited a winery. I have always imagined that the only wineries that exist are far out of urban city areas. What I have always envisioned was a sea of landscape land that had lined rows of grapes in the stages of blooming, being prepped for picking and processing; I never imagined such an exquisite role as preparing wine for fermentation and blending would be located in the backyard of the borough of Brooklyn. There are a few interesting fact that I learnt during the Red Hook site visit which I thought was quite interesting as well as important to have the background knowledge of how in-depth it is of the process of blending wines.

    Mark the owner of the winery embraced our group, without hesitation, vast his knowledge of wine making along with many years of experience. There are a few interesting facts that I was able to take away from the site visit. I’ve learnt that there are some wines that won’t be placed in a barrel, and that those wines are only kept in tanks, as well as they are fermented in those tanks, it is kept cool to slow down the fermentation process. There after fermentation has completed, the wines will be bottled directly from the tank.
    We were also informed that there is a difference of oaks which influences different outcome of flavors. The oak barrel provides two purposes; one is a vessel which is exposed to oxygen, which there is a great balance between oxidation and reduction, and in each barrel it is happening simultaneously. However, the leaves at the bottom of the barrel basically are starving, though not actively eating sugar or making alcohol through fermentation process, it is still relevant to the process in need of oxygen, however because of the lack of oxygen, the leaves causes the wine to be reduced.
    Wood barrel are held together by the liquid inside and the band or hoops as they call it keeps the barrel from breaking apart; Wood is porous, which causes a lot of oxygen to get to the outside of the wine, however, there is a combination of oxidation and reduction happening at the same time in the wooden barrel.
    There is a difference of flavor when different oaks are used to create the blend, texture, taste while blending and creating any outcome of wine. A neutral oak is an oak which is used over and over; which is mostly used by Red Hook winery as well as there is also new oak barrel; which isn’t so popular at Red Hook however it is still used to create a particular blend of wine. The difference of oak, is that a new oak barrel will impart oaky flavors to the taste of the wine, if indeed a new oak will be used, Red Hook winery uses a particular specific type of new oak barrel which is plunged into hot water for an extreme long time and then into clean water, which releases all the fire power in the wood; however if creating an oaky flavored wine, the process that would be to use a charred new oak barrel and put the wine inside; with a combination of using both neutral oak and new oak to create the oaky flavor it is intended for. In a barrel there is more leave contact with the wine in the barrel.
    The difference of use stainless steel barrel or a tank, encourages reduction, the lack of oxygen; and it encourages a much higher contact with the leaves; however if you place something in the stainless steel barrel for too long it becomes too reduced and that kind of reductive petro quality will produce a horrific taste and it will produce a smell like rotten eggs.
    During the site visit we were given the opportunity to taste different wines from different years, as well as experience the difference of oak barreled wine from new to neutral as well as the difference between non fermented and fermented wine.
    I haven’t been too much a fan of most of the wine I tasted during our site visit, because I have been a non-alcoholic drinker all my adulthood; however I was able to identify a particular taste that I did enjoy during our tasting experiment. I seem to enjoy wines with sweeter taste, non-dry, not too much tanning and a lot of fruit after taste and smell. One of the blended components that particularly stood out for me was RH Palab 2013 (stainless) Pinot Blanc; it was the combination of pineapple, grapefruit and banana taste, the smell of the fruits was delightful, a bit sweeter than the other blended wines I tasted, not much acidity, it had a cloudy pale shade, but very enjoyable.
    Overall, this is one of my hospitality educational highlights; to be given the opportunity to experience wine tasting at a winery and learning the process of wine blending makes me much open to experience more wine tasting in the future.

    Mark Synder
    Founder of co-owner of RedHook Winery
    Our wonderful instructor for the winery tasting experience

    (Professor Goodlad I tried to insert a photo; for some reason it wont upload)

  2. Ebeliss says:

    Nicole, i agree with you. The ambiance of the winery really made one feel as if you were not in Brooklyn and rather in a winemaking field.

    I also enjoyed the blended fruit flavors of the Pinot Blanc. I had a childhood memory of the fruit soursop when i tried the BF MACSB 2013 (wood) Sauv Blanc.

  3. eve may says:

    I love, love Brooklyn… every day you can find something new.
    Who knew Brooklyn had a winery???
    The red Hook winery is a hidden spot. This space makes you feel like you are in Napa with the bonus of a view of the water. I am really happy that I am taking this class.
    Red hook winery is a significant part of the Kings County which was successfully established as I can tell but I am not sure how any years ago. It looks pretty popular and busy on the business side. This is a place that people can hold various events such as weddings, private parties, bridal showers, and birthdays. By the owner Mark Snyder efforts, this place is the “hottest spot” in the red hook. When you talk to Mark you feel that he has that “craziness” and passion to wine. I have heard that his mission is to bring local wine to New York restaurant industry, and to build something raw and special what are is missing in our boroughs right now.
    I visited The Red Hook winery twice. I had a great opportunity to be a part of studying process of wine making, I was able to touch, to taste, to smell and to blend my own wine. There were so many things I didn’t know before: like 3 ways of making rose, I have never heard about orange wine, and I had no idea that you can ferment skin of the grapes and it’s a very popular in Greece. I didn’t know that lees are a protective part of that wine making process and lees take care of the wine , tell you more it gives a specific characteristics to a wine (like buttery) and I was able to taste it and I like it. Finally, I have found out the differences between the stain steel tank and oak barrel, and what it gives to the wine.
    Thank you for everything.

    • Mary says:

      It has been a while, since our last visit to the Red Hook Winery, but still my memories of the unique spot stand strong in my mind. Finding the winery was an adventure in and of itself. It was wonderfully hidden in a warehouse building right by the sea. I had no idea that upon entering through the doors, the space would have been so well designed with earthy tones and rustic finishings of iron and wood.
      I agree with Eve May, that this winery would be quite the hot spot for special events, especially a wedding!!! Aside from the warm interior, all staff members were so welcoming and informative. During the blending process, Mark especially, along with others were so informative, answering any questions we had. The quality of the wine was also exceptional. I am not much of a red lover, but for the ones that I did try I was impressed.
      Overall, the blending wine field trip was a great learning experience. It opened my eyes to one of the City’s coolest places. Being inside Red Hook Winery, I slowly began to forget that I was even in New York City. It reminded me of upstate New York and the great tasting wines that are prepared in some of the wineries.

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