What is Veraison?
Taken from the French, veraison is the change of color of grapes. It is a signal that the plant and its berries are putting their energies into ripening the berries instead of berry
The unripe grapes, all a bright green color, begin to turn either pale yellow or dark blue/purple in the case of “red” wine grapes. This is a photograph of Johnson Estate's Pinot Noir grapes which have started but not completed veraison. At this stage, the vines have begun to transport energy stores to the grapes and they increase in size as sugar levels increase.
Birds Looking for Early Ripening Grapes
In western New York and Pennsylvania, where 30,000 acres of vineyards are found along Lake Erie, the end of September is known for the aroma of ripening grapes and the commencement of the region's harvest of Concords. When this begins to happen, it is a signal that the grapes are becoming sweeter. The majority of the region's vineyards are Concord grapes which tend to ripen later than some wine varieties. As a result, the early-ripening wine varieties, like Johnson Estate's Maréchal Foch and Pinot Noir need to be protected from birds whose choices are fewer at the beginning of the season.
At Johnson Estate, these two early-ripening grape varieties are protected from hungry birds through the use of ballons, kevlar streamers, and periodic cannon shots. In addition, there is a recording of a hawk attacking a starling and all of these efforts help to diminish the birds' interest in these first-ripening grapes.
More Information may be found here:
Fred Johnson, Owner
April 21, 2019 For Immediate Release Contact Monica Mazur, 877-326-6561
Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries Strike Gold at the 2019 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
Westfield (NY) – Eight local wineries went up against over 650 competing wineries from all over the world and came away with a disproportionate share of the top honors. There were over 2800 wines entered in the 19th Finger Lakes International Wine Competition held on April 13th and 14th in Rochester NY. This event has become the largest charitable wine competition in North America, as each of the over 2800 entries contributes over $50 to Camp Good Days and Special Times, a camp dedicated to bringing smiles and memories to children with cancer.
Of the 64 top honors awarded (Best of Class or Double Golds), twelve were won by the over one-hundred New York and Pennsylvania wineries entering the competition. Of those twelve Best of Class or Double Gold awards presented, four of them – or one third - were earned by Lake Erie Wine Country wineries! In addition, the eight LEWC wineries who submitted wines to this competition also earned seven gold medals and multiple silver and bronze recognitions as follows. Complete results available at https://fliwc-cgd.com/winners-2019.asp.
Summary of Awards Earned by Lake Erie Wine Country Wineries:
21 Brix (Portland, NY) - Best of Class, Sparkling - 2017 Bruttella
Gold - Ella’s White Niagara
7 silver and bronze medals
Johnson Estate Winery (Westfield, NY) - Double Gold – 2017 Freelings Creek Semi-Dry Riesling
Gold - 2017 Freelings Creek Sweet Riesling
Gold - 2017 Maple Liqueur
Gold - 2017 Solstice Sangria
7 silver and bronze medals
Presque Isle Winery (North East, PA) - Double Gold – Eskimo Kisses (dessert wine)
5 silver and bronze medals
Yori Cellars Winery (North East, PA) - Double Gold – Famiglia (red wine)
12 silver and bronze medals
Arrowhead Wine Cellars (North East PA)
Gold - “Midnight Proposal”
3 silver and bronze medals
Lakeview Wine Cellars (North East PA)
Gold – 2017 Traminette
4 silver and bronze medals
Liberty Vineyards & Winery (Sheridan NY)
Gold – “Lucy in the Sky Sweet Rosé”
5 silver and bronze medals
Heritage Wine Cellars (North East PA)
10 silver and bronze medals
Lake Erie Wine Country (LEWC) is a marketing association of 23 wineries located along the shores of Lake Erie in western New York and Pennsylvania amidst 30,000 scenic acres of juice and wine grape vineyards. Additional information found on the LEWC website, www.LakeErieWineCountry.org.
TASTES OF GERMANY, April 12-14, 2019 at Johnson ESTATE Winery
Last night's hail storm would not make one believe that we are on the cusp of spring - but here are some other signs!
April 12-14, Wine & Cheese Weekend, Lake Erie Wine Country
Johnson Estate Winery featured Flammkuchen, or Flame Cake, paired with Sweet Riesling.
April 13, ESTATE Dinner: A Taste of Germany - May Wine Release
Featuring Exec. Chef Edward Work, Heirloom Restaurant, Athenaeum Hotel
Tablescape by Mary Marzec
Chocolates from Le Rouge by Aarti, Westport, CT
Just Released: Results for 2019 International Eastern Wine Competition, Santa Rosa, California:
Our 2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine was just voted best “Best of Show”, "Best of Class”, and Best of Dessert/Late Harvest. Yes, that means that the Competition's group of wine judges, who come from around the world, voted unanimously to award this wine these accolades. This garnet-colored red ice wine, which pairs famously with any dark chocolate, was also awarded 98 points. And yes, this is a score out of a possible 100 points - in which the judges are assessing all of the elements of the wine, including color, aromas, acidity, balance, and flavors which contribute to overall drinkability. Johnson Estate's team is delighted with this recognition!
Winemaker, Jeff Murphy - 2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine Harvest, December 2017
Here are eight other Johnson Estate Winery GOLD medal winners at this Competition:
Just for Valentine's Day
Ice Wine - Two for the Price of One
Use Code: VALENTINESDAY
Valentine's Day is just a week away. Would a bottle of ice wine be a good way to celebrate it?
Johnson Estate has three vintages of award-winning "frozen by Mother Nature" true ice wines
and is featuring a "Two for the Price of One" sale just for Valentine's Day.
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, $49.49 (375ml)
Honey and peach flavors - try it with goat cheese and honey toast.
Chambourcin Ice Wine, $49.49 (375ml)
Hints of berry and raisin - pair with chocolate, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine, $49.49 (375ml)
Fine mousse-like bubbles with mild strawberry flavors.
Sparkling Rosé Ice Wine, $69.49 (750ml)
Perfect for that Valentine's Day party (serves eight +).
We also have:
Birch Boxes - Especially made for our ice wine boxes
Austrian Hazelnuts or Cinnamon Walnuts to pair with ice wines.
Robert Burns' Night Supper
Johnson Estate Winery's owners, Fred and Jennifer Johnson, have celebrated many Burns' Night Suppers over the years, beginning when they lived in Canada. And right, most of the guests are not Scottish! While Fred doesn't own a kilt, those dinners have included guests who did wear them. Jennifer swears that the best reason to attend annual Burns' Night Dinner at the The Caledonian Society in Cincinnati is to see gentlemen dressed in kilts and jackets with elaborate ruffled shirts. These dinners were always fun - and as described in this "how to", always included poetry readings and sometimes bagpipes and dancing. Mostly celebrated with friends in Cincinnati and in western New York, some of them Scottish or of Scottish descent, our menu of the dinner hosted with friends, varied little from the one listed below.
We've added wine pairings, but please know that Scotch is always served. These days,
we might serve a Hudson Valley Single Malt Whiskey, now sold in the winery
(we're sorry, we do not have the license to ship this product to your home).
Paté of Westfield Fisheries’ Smoked White Fish
Pair with sparkling or still Traminette
Cock-a-Leekie Soup or Leek and Potato Soup
Pair with Toasted Oak Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
Haggis, Tatties & Neeps (Mashed Potatoes & Mashed Turnips)
Colçannon (Mashed Potatoes with Leeks & Cabbage)
Vintner's Cabernet Sauvignon or Founders' Red
Scottish Oat Cakes, Cheddar & Stilton Cheeses
Cream Sherry or Ruby Port
“Cranachan” - Toasted Oats with Whipped Cream & Fresh Raspberries
with a drizzle of Scotch Whiskey
Sips and Tips, The Science of Shape and Stemware, Edible WesternNY, Winter 2018
by Matt Robbins
Here's how the article begins:
The holidays are upon us. You toiled over a hot stove for hours creating culinary perfection, researched the perfect wines to pair with the meal, and now your guests' stomachs are grumbling. You set the table - a seasonal table-cloth, the good china, and the beautiful centerpiece you made, pulling the whole things together. But then you go to the cabinet full of 50 different types of glassware you got from from relatives at your wedding and the panic sets in. Which one do I use? Does it matter?
Author, Matt Robbins, thinks it does. His knowledge of glassware and the interplay between them and the taste of wine is shared in this article for the Winter 2018 Issue of Edible Western NY.
Matt Robbins is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (aka the mad scientist). He works at Johnson Estate Winery in the tasting room as well in the winery laboratory with winemaker, Jeff Murphy and regularly educates customers and winery staff (!) about things we did not know. Here's the whole article!
A Toast to Veterans and Those Currently Serving Our Country
Beginning on Armistice/Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2018 and for the rest of November, Johnson Estate Winery will be offering free tastings for veterans and those serving in the military. Come taste our special wine honoring Maréchal Foch (Marshall and Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies).
For Groups of Eight Or More: Please call Mary the winery at 716-326-2191 to make a reservation; please note that the winery is wheel chair accessible.
Centennial Dinner, December 8th, 2018
A French-inspired dinner to be held at Johnson Estate winery to feature Maréchal Foch and other red wines. Reservations ($65/person) may be made here.
Centennial News Release Here - for additional details about both Maréchal Foch and the grape variety named after him.
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