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Johnson Estate Winery

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Frederick Johnson
 
December 8, 2020 | Frederick Johnson

"Christmas in a Bottle"

    
MULLED OR SPICED WINES:  Red Ipocras and White Ipocras
The Germans call it "Gluhwein" - literally, wine that makes you glow - and it is a staple of their Christmas markets to this day.  The Swedes call it Glogg and the Italians borrow some French to call it "Vin Brule’".  Ipocras is sweet and generously flavored with several of the spices popular in old England. These include ginger, cinnamon, and clove, and they leave a wonderfully warm and lingering aftertaste.  In fact, the recipe we use is an adaptation of an Elizabethan formula.

A BRIEF HISTORY
Warm, spiced wines have a long tradition going back to the early Greeks who believed that the combination of warmth, alcohol, and spices had excellent medicinal properties to combat the infirmities of the cold winter season.  They called the mixture “hippocras” after Hippocrates, the father of medicine.  The medieval French called it Ypocras, which the English often changed to Ipocras.  Chaucer mentions it in his first work: The Book of Duchess in 1370, a dirge he dedicated to Blanche, the Duchess of Somerset who died of the plague at age 26. 

In 16th century England, both white and red Ipocras, had become a drink of the highest nobility. At a time when both sugar and spices were rare and precious, Ipocras was reserved for the use of royalty at the most precious ceremonial occasions. Indeed, Ipocras was the libation presented by the Lord Mayor of London to Queen Elizabeth I at her coronation.

Johnson Estate's founder, Fred Johnson, was inspired to produce Ipocras to celebrate the commissioning of the Sea Lion, an authentic replica of a 16th century merchant ship which was built nearby on Chatauqua Lake.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Serve it warm in a mug or cut it 50/50 with hot apple cider and serve it in a beer stein with a stick of cinnamon. Some traditions fortify it with apple or grape brandy for extra warmth, but that sometimes can be too much of a good thing. And here are some food pairing suggestions including Triple Ginger Cookies!

TRY IT NOW
By way of introduction, we are offering you a 20% discount on our Red Ipocras or White Ipocras
this month to encourage you to try it! Here's a "one-click to try them both!

Time Posted: Dec 8, 2020 at 2:13 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
December 7, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

Come See Our Christmas Tree

Some years ago, at the Westfield Farmer's Market, I saw some pretty paper ornaments made by Brenda McCutheon.   I got the idea of decorating the whole tree in the winery with wine-label ornaments - getting rid of the "fake Chinese brass" ornaments - and "dressing" the winery tree in something unique for our tasting room   Brenda was able to accommodate by making dozens of ornaments - and you see the beautiful tree as a result on the right.

And yes, the ornaments have been so popular that we have asked Brenda to make additional ones so that we may sell them in the winery (S=$15.00, M=$17.50, L=$20.00) - they are a great substitute for gift bows!

We would be remiss not to add that this year, our twelve-foot Fraser fir tree was purchased from Bear Lake Christmas Tree Farm - worth a visit if you still need a tree!  Bruce has beautifully shaped trees in all sizes ready to be freshly cut.
Merry Christmas!

Time Posted: Dec 7, 2020 at 3:15 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
December 7, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

Fredonia State - College Lodge Forest


Chautauqua County is defined by its beautiful agricultural and forest vistas and landscapes.  One of the special ones is the College Lodge Forest - and here's an opportunity to help preserve it.   

The College Lodge Forest in Chautauqua County near Fredonia is one of the most exquisite natural areas remaining in Western New York. The heart of the forest is anchored by a large grove of towering old-growth trees, hundreds of years old. This is extremely rare in Western New York. Trillium, orchids, and lilies cover the forest floor. The forest is part of a major flyway for migratory birds that come from as far south as the Amazon rainforest in the spring, and from as far north as the Arctic tundra in the fall. 

But the land is threatened, and the old-growth trees could be logged. Thanks to the dedication of people who have fought to protect this land, the Western New York Land Conservancy has an opportunity to purchase it right now. When the land is protected by the Land Conservancy, it will be protected forever from logging and open to the public. 

Would you consider donating to ensure the College Lodge Forest is protected forever? You can donate with this link (When you donate, note "College Lodge Forest" in the dropdown menu) or by sending a check to Western New York Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 471 East Aurora, NY 14052. 
Be sure to stop at College Lodge Forest for a beautiful walk, next time you are near Fredonia.
https://www.wnylc.org/college-lodge-forest

Thank you Elyse Perruchon for writing this summary of the College Forest!

Time Posted: Dec 7, 2020 at 12:14 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
November 28, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

Wine Duos to Compare

As many know, our winemaker, Jeff Murphy, has been with us for nearly two decades, and we are proud to say that each year, he continues to introduce new award-wining wines to our porfolio using our estate-grown grapes.  In some cases, these wines make for interesting taste comparisons since sometimes small differences - as in the sweetness levels of our Rieslings - can have bigger than expected impacts on flavor. 

Another example is our new Hand-Picked Seyval Blanc which was made with estate-grapes which were frozen and then thawed prior to pressing and fermentation, a wine-making technique used in particular in New Zealand, to preserve the peach and passion fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc.  While our two wines are made with the same grapes - there are subtle differences between the two, with the Hand-Picked being more dry - but we'll let you decide!

  • Seyval Blanc and Hand-Picked Seyval Blanc
    (machine-harvested, regular pressing versus hand-picked, frozen, and then pressed)
  • Toasted Oak Chardonnay and Bright Steel Chardonnay
    (two Chardonnay clones,one oaked)
  • Black Locust, Dry, Semi-Dry, and Sweet Riesling
    (different levels of sweetness, Black Locust aged in acacia/black locust barrels)
  • Maréchal Foch and Dry Ruby Rosé
    (both made from Foch grapes - but the Rosé made with grapes pressed before fermentation)
  • Pinot Noir and Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir
    (both made from Pinot grapes - but the Rosé made with grapes pressed before fermentation)
Time Posted: Nov 28, 2020 at 12:26 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
November 16, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

Dec.10th - Holiday Pairing: Virtual Tasting - Johnson Estate & Tasty Duck

A (virtual) Taste of Family Business –
2020 Holiday Pairing
Thurs., Dec. 10, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. ET

As 2020 draws to a close, the Cornell University's Smith Family Business Initiative (SFBI) invites you to spend a special evening discovering two storied families and their businesses, each with special ties to Cornell University. Spotlighting the Johnson and Jurgielewicz families, this delicious pairing will feature a Joe Jurgielewicz & Son's Pekin duck, with Hoisin Sauce and Bao Buns, paired with Semi-Dry Riesling and Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir from Johnson Estate.   Learn more about the Complete Peking Duck Kit.

Click HERE to register for this free Cornell hosted event.

Johnson Estate Winery

The history of Johnson Estate begins with an English orphan named Frederick Johnson. He immigrated to Canada as a teenager and found his way to Cornell at the turn of the century to study entomology. In 1908, Johnson purchased a circa-1822 home and farm along the banks of Freelings Creek in Westfield, N.Y.  The Johnson Estate endures today as New York’s oldest estate winery, with the third generation, Frederick, Jr. ’75, MBA ’77 and Jennifer Johnson MBA ‘78 as owners and operators. Today Johnson Estate Winery grows 13 varieties of grapes spanning 110 acres of vineyards on the 300-acre farm. They produce over 40 award-winning wines which they sell in the Estate’s own tasting room, online, and in stores across New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Jurgielewicz Family Duck
Four generations of Jurgielewicz family duck farming began in 1933 when Bronislaw and Katarzyna Jurgielewicz, emigrated to America from Poland via Ellis Island. The young, ambitious couple initially settled in Brooklyn but, driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, soon moved east to rural Long Island. The fledgling Jurgielewicz Duck Farm was hatched, and quickly became a top producer of Pekin ducks for the famous Long Island Duck Co-op, and remains one of the leading Pekin duck suppliers in North America. Now settled in Pennsylvania, Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd., aka Tastyduck.com, is in its’ fourth generation of farm ownership, led by Dr. Joe Jurgielewicz DVM ’81, joined by his sons Joey Jurgielewicz III MMH ’15, Dr. Jim Jurgielewicz, DVM  and Michael Jurgielewicz ‘13. The company employs over 200 and has partnered with 27 local farm families throughout Pennsylvania to raise JJS Pekin ducks, direct descendants of the ducks that Dr. Joe’s grandparents raised on their farm in Long Island.

Time Posted: Nov 16, 2020 at 1:45 PM
Frederick Johnson
 
November 11, 2020 | Frederick Johnson

All About Torpedo Red for Veteran's Day

ABOUT TORPEDO RED
This label was designed by the Johnson’s son, Spencer, a US Navy active duty EOD officer, in honor of his grandfather, the winery’s founder, Frederick Spencer Johnson.

The dragon carrying a torpedo was the insignia of the WWII Navy Squadron Torpedo Three which flew off the Yorktown from 1943-1945.

The silhouette of the airplane is that of a TBM Avenger, designed by Grumman Aircraft and built by General Motors. to carry a 2,000 pound aerial torpedo. On November 11, 1944*, then Lt. (junior grade) Frederick S. Johnson, age 23, single-handedly torpedoed and sank a Japanese destroyer for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Admiral John S. McCain (the recent Senator’s grandfather).

The wine is a blend of Chancellor and Pinot Noir both grown here on the farm. It is a smooth but almost-dry, full-bodied wine that is ready to drink now but should also continue improving with age for at least another five years. 

This is a limited, special edition label we are now offering every November in honor of all veterans and active duty military.

* Coincidentally, November 11th is Armistice Day, now called Veterans’ Day.

Time Posted: Nov 11, 2020 at 6:16 AM
Mark Gosharian
 
September 28, 2020 | Mark Gosharian

Spectrum News, Jamestown, NY: Johnson Estate - Harvest Begins

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2020/09/21/johnson-estate-winery-picker-out-in-full-force-as-grape-harvest-season-gets-underway-in-western-new-york-#

Time Posted: Sep 28, 2020 at 7:58 PM
Brian Hayden
 
September 8, 2020 | Brian Hayden

Buffalo News, Gusto: Johnson Estate's Great Grape Walks

https://buffalonews.com/entertainment/afternoon-drive-fall-event-takes-visitors-on-great-grape-walk-at-johnson-estate-winery/article_fddb3b2e-f1ca-11ea-a941-6f7fa34d6261.html

Time Posted: Sep 8, 2020 at 7:55 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
August 28, 2020 | Jennifer Johnson

Sunflowers on Route 20 in Westfield


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 26, 2020     

Sunflowers to Brighten Summer Days
Working Together Yields a Field of Flowers

Westfield, (NY) - Back in May, during the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown, three farmers in Westfield, NY decided to brighten things up a little bit along US Route 20 on the west side of Westfield.

Fred Johnson, owner of Johnson Estate Winery and head of the local Chamber of Commerce, thought that a field of sunflowers would make a good westerly welcome to not the Winery, but also to the Town of Westfield.  Since Mr. Johnson owns some land just west of the winery, he proposed the idea to Chad Schofield, who owns Schofield Farms, and rents the land for corn and soybeans.  Chad agreed to plant sunflowers along Route 20 – but the catch was that his planting equipment didn’t include the right planting drill for large sunflower seeds.  Enter Carl Villardo, Fred’s nearby grape farmer, neighbor, and friend.  He had a John Deere 750 no-till grain drill, fondly named “Sally” which he lent to Chad to plant the sunflower seeds in the late spring.   Et voila!

What Fred forgot, however, is that sunflowers always face east towards the sun.   In a recent Science magazine, researchers noted:  “A young sunflower faces east at dawn and greets the sun and then slowly turns west as the sun moves across the sky. During the night, it slowly turns back east to begin the cycle again”.  Once the sunflower is mature, the plants face east throughout the day, providing warm flowers which attract more bees and pollinators.  So, indeed, the best vistas (and photographs) of the sunflowers will be taken on the east side of the fields on Route 20, as one is departing Westfield. 

So if you’re out for a country drive between now and Labor Day, you should visit the village of Westfield.  Then drive west for about a mile to try some of Fred’s wines and afterwards, continue west along Rt. 20 to see 600 yards of happy sunflowers looking right back at you!  It will put a smile on your face!

Time Posted: Aug 28, 2020 at 12:56 PM
Frederick Johnson
 
July 15, 2020 | Frederick Johnson

We Shall Persevere - A Look at 100 Years Ago

PERSPECTIVE:  100 years ago - in 1920 - at the Johnson Farm (aka Sunnyslope)
Circa 1954, Owner Fred Johnson Jr. with grandfather, Frederick William Johnson.     

  • My grandfather, Frederick William Johnson, is building an apple cold storage shed.  He frames it out with big timbers repurposed from a dairy barn that in turn was built about 1820 by William Peacock.  The cold storage shed is now our winery and the those original 1820 timbers still hold the roof up.
  • His wife of 3 years, Nan Scouller, has presented him with a baby daughter, Antoinette, who in 1920 is about to turn two.  My father will be born in September of 1921.  The brick house next door that he has been fixing up since 1911 is now fully ready for his young family.
  • The fourth wave of the “Spanish Flu” epidemic has just ended.  It killed 675,000 Americans and perhaps 50 million people world-wide. There is no vaccine.
  • The country is in a severe post-war, post-pandemic recession.  There are race riots in Chicago and anarchist bombings on Wall Street. 
  • President Wilson is pretending to govern the country from his sickbed. FDR, running as Vice President, will get trounced in November 1920 election: 404 electoral college votes to 127.
  • Prohibition becomes the law of the land, and grandfather reputedly makes his first batch of wine that fall.
  • The Dust Bowl (Like Erie is over five feet below its current high levels), the Depression, World War II and the atom bomb will all follow, but Grandfather’s little farm enterprise prospers in good times and survives in bad.

So here we are, one hundred years later, struggling to navigate the latest pandemic, looking forward to a great harvest, but uncertain about political, economic, and environmental futures.  But we have been here before.  We will persevere, as will you.  As farmers, we know that there will always be challenges ahead, both man-made and God-given.  But we are always optimists; determined optimists, dedicated to always leaving this place and our customers and community a little better and a little happier than they were before.

Time Posted: Jul 15, 2020 at 2:16 PM

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