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Johnson Estate Winery

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Frederick Johnson
 
March 23, 2021 | Frederick Johnson

Preparing for a New Chardonnay Vineyard - What Takes Five Years?


Taking advantage of early spring dry weather to prepare for 12,500 new Chardonnay vines. 
The seagulls from Lake Erie are looking for grubs and helping to fertilize!

What Takes Five Years? 
To change a field from one variety of grapes to a new variety. Here are the steps:

  • After harvest, we remove the old vines, and trellis system including the posts.
  • The following spring, we plant Sudan grass which is a kind of Sorghum that grows in very thick stands eight feet tall.
  • That fall, we mow and mulch the Sudan grass and then spread a generous weight of pomace (grape pressings from the winery).  We do this to rebuild the soil’s structure and to boost its organic matter.
  • The following spring, we disc the pomace and shredded Sudan grass into the soil, smooth the field, and plant Sudan grass again.
  • In the second fall, we shred the grass and add more pomace.
  • Finally, in the spring of year three, we disc in the prior year’s shredded grass and pomace, smooth the field, remove large rocks, to prepare to plant the new vineyard.
  • Before we plant, we will install perforated drainage pipe under every third row to help keep the vines’ roots from drowning during wet spring weather. This is disruptive enough that we will smooth those rows again.
  • Then the rows are laid out on 8.5 foot centers, vines planted, trellis posts installed, lowest wires strung, drip irrigation tubing hung and connected, and cover crop planted between the rows.  Then we hope for sunny weather!

Before we can harvest our first berry of Chardonnay from this new vineyard, another three years will pass during which we add more trellis wires, trim, train and tie the growing vines, and pinch all the new fruit blossoms off in the first two years so that the vines can put all their energies into growing roots and canes.  This is, of course, in addition to the regular seasonal jobs of pruning and controlling weeds, insects, and fungal diseases.

So for this new field of Chardonnay, we expect our first partial crop in the fall of 2023, after picking our last crop of Delaware in 2018.

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2021 at 12:53 PM
Jennifer Johnson
 
March 16, 2021 | Jennifer Johnson

Recent Award News!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 16, 2021          CONTACT:  Jennifer Johnson 513-502-0123
Johnson ESTATE Winery:  Celebrating the Onset of Spring with Golden Awards
Results from two recent competitions reaffirm Johnson Estate’s commitment to producing quality wines

Westfield, (NY) – Pandemic or no, farms wineries, like Johnson Estate, do not stop growing grapes, nor making wine, nor receiving accolades for the good ones!  We're grateful for our region’s special “Lake Effect” microclimate which plays an important role in permitting us to grow excellent grapes and to produce award-winning wines.

2021 NY Wine Classic – Gold Medal for Freelings Creek Traminette
We are pleased to announce that in the 2021 NY Wine Classic, which will be celebrated online this year on Friday, March 19th at 6pm, Johnson Estate’s semi-dry Freelings Creek Traminette was awarded the Best of Class designation.  Traminette, developed by Cornell University, is a wine grape variety whose parentage includes Gewurtztraminer and Seyval Blanc.  The grape makes wines similar to Gewurtztraminer with floral lycheé aromas and a spicy finish.  .  

2021 Eastern International Wine Competition – Five Gold Medals, Two Best of Class
 
Johnson Estate Winemaker Jeff Murphy, 2017 Ice Wine Harvest
The results of the 2021 Eastern Int’l Wine Competition were just announced this week and the medals which Johnson Estate’s wines received recognize the quality of the wines produced – both dry and sweet.  Five wines were awarded five gold medals, including two with Best of Class designations:   
            2017 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Gold & Best of Class & Best Dessert/Late Harvest, 93 Points
            2019 Pink Catawba, Gold & Best of Class, 90 Points
            2019 Concord, Gold, 92 Points
            2019 Niagara, Gold, 90 Points
            2019 Seyval Blanc, Gold, 92 Points

Winemaker Jeff Murphy, whose contributions to the winery’s portfolio of award-winning wines are too numerous to count, is depicted above during the 2017 ice wine harvest.  The vintage year was a good one.  This vintage of Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, which is still for sale in the winery, has been awarded four other gold medals and the 2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine (now sold out) also earned 98 Points at the 2019 Eastern Int’l Wine Competition. 

2021 Beverage Testing Institute, 2019 Chambourcin Ice Wine, 94 Points
Winemaker Jeff Murphy has high regard for the evaluations of the Beverage Testing Institute.  They just awarded our 2019 Chambourcin Ice Wine 94 Points, Exceptional: “An outstanding expression of Chambourcin; this is a great Ice Wine to let the grape’s best characteristics shine”.

Johnson Estate Winery, with over one hundred acres of vineyards, is the oldest estate winery in New York State and a founding member of the Lake Erie Wine Country. For more information please visit www.johnsonwinery.com, or www.facebook.com/johnsonwinery, or call 716-326-2191.

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2021 at 12:18 PM
Frederick Johnson
 
January 24, 2021 | Frederick Johnson

From Fred: Reflections on a Winter's Morn

Mid-Winter Pillar of Fire Sunrise

This Sunday morning, January 24, was dawning grey and still, with about a foot of snow on the ground when I walked to the bay window with my first cup of tea in hand and was greeted by one of the most unusual sunrises I’ve ever seen. It lasted less than two minutes, and I think that it was caused by the sunrise being focused through a hole in the clouds just behind the ridge of hills that make up the Allegheny escarpment two miles south of Lake Erie. This is the so called “Chautauqua Ridge” which is notorious on the evening weather shows for its Lake Effect snow accumulations.

Fifty year ago today, it was likely also a grey day in Massachusetts where I was an 18 year-old headed off to the required Sunday Chapel with about 800 other boys.  Dark suits, white shirts, and neat ties required, and as a dorm proctor I would have been responsible for making sure that my various tenth-grade charges made it to church on time and then, as a student deacon, for helping to pass the collection plates during the offertory. Hopefully, the sermon and the service lifted our sights above our teenage worries.

Always an early-rising farm boy,  I’ve seen a lot of sunrises since; on at least five continents and three oceans, and it's a joy to see this, one of the most uplifting sunrises right out the back bay window of what was, originally, my grandfather’s house to which we have returned in our “retirement”.

Over the years, I have experienced far beyond my just allotment of good fortunes and adventures, yet I am thankful this morning that in returning to one of the places of my beginning, that in this Sunday sunrise over vineyards, I should be granted such an inspiring glimpse of a more fundamental perspective.

Fred Johnson

Time Posted: Jan 24, 2021 at 11:57 AM
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

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