Our Partners

It is with the unparalleled support of the Julia Child Foundation and the fine dedication of Red Hook Winery that our wine making sessions are possible.

The Julia Child Foundation offers Grants to worthy recipients looking to pursue opportunities in hospitality Julia Child Foundation Grant Opportunities. We appreciate all that the Foundation has provided us. To learn more about their overall goals please visit their website here: Julia Child Foundation.

Red Hook Winery provides wine-making opportunities in an urban setting. Bringing the region’s grapes to the Brooklyn Waterfront allows for great learning opportunities for City Tech Students. Red Hook Winery

One of the wine maker’s, Robert Foley, generously led the wine making session on October 6, 2014. Being one of Napa Valley’s prominent winemakers, his lead of our educational site visit and tasting was an unparalleled treat. http://www.robertfoleyvineyards.com/about.html

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Shelf Talker

Name: Velvety Red

Style: Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes: Our mission was to create a blend that was a mixture of rich and boldness along with sweet and floral – and it was just that. The Merlot delivers an enticing floral aroma and taste, while the Cabernet Sauvignon provides maturity and elegance. Lastly, we added a dash of Cabernet Franc to add an herbal character and just enough dryness to be paired with braised beef.

Food pairing suggestion: Braised Beef Jardinière and Duchess Potatoes

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Implement Solutions

When we began the process of determining which wine would be best suited for our dish and for use in the Janet Lefler Dining Room, we started at the simplest point of breaking down the basic flavors of the dish.  We instantly knew it would have to be a big red wine, because of the fact that the meat was going to be braised.  When you braise meats like beef you develop a deep and rich flavor from red wine, tomato paste, and the searing of meat.  We understood that it would be a rich dish that would need wine that had tannins to cut through the fat of the meat, yet have enough spices to be able to stand next to it.  With all of things considered we chose three wines that we thought would be the grape to dance with this dish, those wines were Nero D’Avola from Sicily, Malbec from Argentina, and Zinfandel from California.  Though different each of these grapes had something to offer, and were definitely worthy companions of such a rich dish.

After our initial visit to Red Hook Winery we found out which grapes would be available to us, and then had to make decision on what we would use based on our previous research.  After tasting and discussing our potions, we all agreed that our blend would be 50/50 Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We came to this decision easily because we thought about these options in advance if the initial grapes we wanted to use were not available.  On the way to the winery for the second time we said what the blend we wanted to use would be, and found out that the other groups were thinking the same thing.  We discussed options with Professor Dagorn and Professor Goodlad, and came up with a new blend we thought would be a hit for sure.  Our new blend, Velvety Red, would prove to be exactly what we wanted to go with the dish we chose.  The blend comprised of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc.  We enjoyed the floral aroma, and bold rich flavor without it being overbearing.  We agreed that it would need a little bit of time to age in oak barrels to give it a little more body, and be a true winner for our entree.

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Evaluate Potential Solutions

Although we thought we had already decided our blend the week before, a conversation on the way to Red Hook Winery with Professor Goodlad and Professor Dagorn made us question our choice. Our original blend was going to be 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Cabernet Franc. As we heard what the other groups making red wine were going to do, we realized that mostly all of us were going to have similar blends therefore we decided to mix it up a bit.

Once we arrived at the winery, we prepared our blend along with a couple others for a comparison. The blends we made consisted of the following:

1.       50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
2.       80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
3.       60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
4.       60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc

After trying each blend a couple of times and having Professor Dagorn also try our favorite blend, we all decided to go with the third option of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. We enjoyed the floral aroma and bold and rich flavor without it being overbearingly bitter. We decided that we would want to age it in an oak barrel to give it more structure and body.

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Shelf Talker

Our final Shelf Talker is as follows:

Name of the wine: InVino (In wine there is Truth)

Style of your wine: Full-Bodied dry red wine

Tasting notes: Deep color, purplish garnet, dark berry cherry fruits on the nose slight pepper coming through. Same concentrated dark berries and cherry fruits on the palate with slight oakiness and peppery tastes. Firm structure with balanced tannin and acidity with short finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions: This Full-Bodied red wine that has high alcohol and more tannin and dark fruit flavors pair perfectly with equally bold-flavored food, such as red and gamy meat.


Information on a label

InVino, full-bodied dry red wine blend created by Christina, Kristen and Irina in cooperation with the Red Hook Winery.

75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc, from North-Fork, Long Island, 2015 Vintage.

(BACK OF THE LABEL) Three students from the New York College of Technology made a trip to the Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn to find the truth about wines and their blending methods. They came up with this blend that contains their passion for wine, hospitality and eagerness to always learn something new. Enjoy this red wine and remember, in wine there is the truth.


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Implement Solution

Before we could proceed to the wine making process, our team conducted research since neither of us have extensive wine tasting experience. We researched which red wines pair best with lamb, and we found multiple options for our wine. Since we only had three varietals to choose from at the Red Hook Winery, it was clear that we would definitely go with Cabernet Sauvignon as our base wine and work with this wine from there. We chose the Cabernet Sauvignon as our base wine because it would balance out with the Lamb Steaks Hache with its peppery, black cherry, and licorice taste, along with the smoky, vanilla notes due to the oak aged barrels.

To begin blending, we initially started out with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Cabernet Franc. We found that this blend was very subtle and lost all of the characteristics in which we were looking for in the wine. Our next blend was 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. We found that this blend overpowered the peppery notes that we definitely wanted for our wine pairing. Our third blend was the blend in which we originally intended on using, which was 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc. We felt that this blend was perfect for pairing with the Lamb Steaks Hache and we chose this wine to submit for the blind taste testing, which ultimately won and will be served in the Janet Lefler Dining Room.

Posted in Team Four, Christina, Kristen, Irena | Leave a comment

Evaluate Potential Solutions

During our second visit to the Red Hook Winery we were supposed to blend the grape varietals of our choice . Before we started trying different percentages to get our desired blend,Christopher was kind enough to share with us three tactics of wine blending. According to him,wine can be blended based on senses and intuition. The second method is strictly objective, based on calculations and math measurements. And finally, the third way is following the recipe and instructions. Since our group was lacking an experience, we mainly relied on the knowledge we got during the lectures and at the visit to the winery and our intuition and senses.

The menu item of our choice is Lamb Hache, our team decided to mainly work on Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, since these grape varietals had the characteristics to complement perfectly the “gamy” meat without overpowering the taste but giving unique characteristics at the same time. Our first try was 50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. It turned out to be very plain blend and we lost all the characteristics that we were looking for. We tried different variations of blending with Cabernet Franc as a base wine, however for some reason we wouldn’t get that bold body that Cabernet Sauvignon has, and all the peppery and cherry aromas and oakiness wouldn’t be as vivid as we projected for our blend. Finally, we decided to use 75% Cabernet Sauvignon as a base Wine and 25% Cabernet Franc, and we got medium to full body wine, with balanced tannin and acidity, which was also unique with its peppery and dark berry notes, oakiness.


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Selecting the wine to be used in the Janet Lefler Dining Room

After all the teams came up with their final wine blends, we blind tasted each other’s wine. Each team voted for one red and white wine, that we thought were balanced, pleasant to the palate, and deserved to be presented at the Janet Lefler Dining Room.

The winning white wine (D) was a blend of 60% skin fermented Chardonnay and 40% Sauvignon Blanc/ Chardonnay blend from team three. The wine blend had a pale yellow color, aromas of tropical fruits and ripe green apples, medium acidity, and a long finish. Compared to the other 2 white wine blends, we found this sample to be more well-balanced which is why we voted for it.

The red wine blends were very diverse and unique. Team six used mostly merlot in their blend. The wine had high acidity, it was dry and tannic, with cherry flavors, and had a long finish. Our team’s(5) blend was 60% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The wine had vibrant aromas of oak and flowers. It was also dry and tannic, with flavors of cherries, and had a long finish. Team four’s red wine blend(C) of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc won in votes. This wine was created to pair and compliment the lamb steaks “hache” with ratatouille. It was balanced, medium body and medium tannins with some red fruit flavors and spice aromas.

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Evaluate Potential Solutions

Last week, we found out that the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were medium to high in tannins, while the Cabernet Franc was low- medium bodied with a smoother finish. Based on the tasting, we decided to make Cabernet Franc as the base for our blend and then add a few drops of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to give the wine structure, as well as floral/oak aromas. We all agreed to make four wine blend samples to choose from in order to come up with our final blend as shown below:

1.) 95% Cabernet Franc (9.5ml), 3% Cabernet Sauvignon (0.3ml), 2% Merlot (0.2ml).

2.) 90% Cabernet Franc (9.0ml), 5% Cabernet Sauvignon(0.5ml), 5% Merlot(0.5ml).

3.) 60% Cabernet Sauvignon (6.0ml), 30% Merlot (3.0ml), 10% Cabernet Franc(1.0ml).

4.) 60% Merlot (6.0ml), 30% Cabernet Sauvignon (3.0ml), 10% Cabernet Franc(1.0ml).

After a series of blending and tasting the base wines, we narrowed down our choices to samples 1 and 3. Sample 1 still tasted like Cabernet Franc, with more structure, but the floral/oak aromas was missing. We were surprised that the wine, now had more tannins, something we didn’t expect with just 5% from both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. We felt that sample 2 was very similar to sample 1, but with more body. Sample 3 had a deep ruby color, with vibrant aromas of flowers and oak. On the palate, it was fruit-forward(cherries), dry, medium plus tannins, with a long finish. Sample 4 was high in tannins and too dry for our palate, but it had bold fruit-forward flavors.  We decided to pick sample 3 as our final blend. We didn’t base our decision on the tasting alone. We also based it on the wine pairing, because we thought this wine would perfectly pair with the Lamb Steaks “Hache” with Ratatouille.

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Shelf Talker

Name: Essence of Red

Style: Blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot

Tasting Notes: The elegant blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is a fruit forward blend of grapes grown on a single-family vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. This young 2015 blend was fermented in steel, which allowed its ripe flavors such as dark cherries, black berries, plums with notes of cinnamon and spice to harvest. The exhilarating aroma and taste of this oaky, fruity, floral blend gives a balanced well-rounded finish. Perfect with just enough tannin to pair with Lamb, beef, pork, venison and even Rabbit. The depth and complexity enhances such savory meals leaving the palate well satisfied.



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Evaluate Potential Solutions

During the blending process the first step we took in order to create a well-balanced wine was to use a 50/50 ratio of the wines in order to have a baseline to work from. This first blend created a wine that we felt was dull and sweet and would not pair with our dish. The second wine blend had a ratio of 80% wine number one and 20% of wine number two. The wine was grassy, floral and appealing. However, we felt the wine was dirty and lacked balance. The third wine blend was 95% wine number one and 5% wine number two. It was dry and had a long finish. By using this ratio, the wine became very unbalanced and produced off aromas and flavors. Our final blend produced a crisp and well-balanced wine. We used 70% wine number one and 30% wine number two. This wine was intense, rich and had flavors of gooseberries, peach, grapefruit and had a tart short finish. The wine also gave off aromas of peach, white flowers and gooseberries. This was the wine that our team chose to submit for the blind tasting.

Posted in Team One, Asia, Jose, Matt P. | Leave a comment