First I must say that I was very impressed with the entire operation at Red Hook Winery, they are doing great work over there. Our visit to Red Hook Winery helped to solidify my understanding of the winemaking process. Bob Foley made my understanding of how the entire process of making wine works deeper. He especially bought home two aspects for me. The first is the fact that there are three things produced during the wine making process (CO2, heat, and alcohol.) Before the tour I just couldn’t remember all of those three things, now I have them in my head. The other thing that Bob helped me to understand is that fermentation through the yeasts found on the grapes could be done but it is risky and you don’t know what you may end up with. Before the tour I honestly felt that most wineries chose not to use the natural yeasts because it’s easier to use what they choose and not have to guess at what kind of wine they will end up with. I feel to some extent that that is the case, however I now realize that it is also about the fact that they could run the risk of the fermentation process stopping all together, and I would surmise for most wineries that is not a risk they are willing to take.
Bob also broke down the entire process of wine making for us and again I will say that for me it was a huge help, because his explanation of the process in the winery provided me with visual stimulus. So moving forward I have a more in depth memory and therefore better understanding of how the wine making process works. For example, I now have the picture of the huge de-stemmer and grape crushing machine that they have in my mind for when I think of the process that red grape varieties go through.
The tastings that we did on some of the wines at Red Hook Winery was enjoyable for me. The blends that they made we interesting. I did not like the white blend that they made, the “Buttercup Curee”, I found it to be very acidic and the taste lingered on my tongue, for me not in a good way. However I did like the Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend (unusual for me as I tend not to like reds), I found it to be low in tannin (the tannin is what I don’t like about most reds), dry, a bit of oak, with a smooth finish.
The entire visit to Red Hook Winery was enjoyable for me. From the look/decor, to the smells, to the wine tasting, overall I found the whole experience enjoyable and in turn a great learning experience. I hope that this program is continued for future students, it is a wonderful opportunity for students to see first hand what really goes on at a winery, I know it was for me.