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Johnson Estate Winery



Jennifer Johnson
October 5, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Ratings in 2018 - GOLDS!

Each year, Winemaker, Jeff Murphy, enters some of our wines into competitions or to rating agencies.  One of his preferred judging agencies is Tastings.com or the Beverage Testing Institute - and it is a favorite because the ratings and tastings are completed "blind".  That is, the tasting judges do not know the producer nor the region for the wines which they taste and then judge - helping to insure a good level of unbiased or neutral assessments of our wines. 
Here are their latest ratings for Johnson Estate wines - click on links for additional details:

91 Points, GOLD-Exceptional, Best Buy, Tastings.com, August 2018.
2017 Chambourcin Ice Wine

90 Points, GOLD-Exceptional, Best Buy, Tastings.com, September 2018.
2016 Freelings Creek Reserve Founders' Red

90 Points, GOLD-Exceptional, Best Buy, Tastings.com, September 2018.
2017 Ruby Dry Rosé

90 Points, GOLD-Exceptional, Best Buy, Tastings.com, September 2018.
2016 Freelings Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Time Posted: Oct 5, 2018 at 7:47 PM Permalink to Ratings in 2018 - GOLDS! Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
September 28, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

I Learned a New Word Today

I Learned a New Word Today
What Are Christmas Berries?! 

What does a grape farmer refer to when he uses that phrase?  A Christmas cluster is a cluster of generally green grapes which the farmer knows would not ripen – well, until Christmas.  That is, if Mother Nature could cooperate and make that happen.  As this photograph of Chambourcin grapes illustrates, sometimes a cluster of grapes is pollinized late – and therefore has no hope of ripening in time for the normal harvest.  Often grape farmers will cut these unseasonally green off the vines, so as not to impact the flavor of the remaining ones. 
Time Posted: Sep 28, 2018 at 10:00 PM Permalink to I Learned a New Word Today Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
August 31, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Labor Day Weekend at Johnson Estate

Things to Do – Labor Day Weekend at Johnson Estate Winery:
Sunflowers, Yoga, Wine & Centennial Farm Celebration Announced

Westfield, NY – All of a sudden, there seem to be a lot of things happening for Labor Day Weekend at Johnson Estate Winery.  Let’s count them:

1.  Sunflowers 
It’s sunflower season at Johnson Estate – and we will have bouquets for sale at the winery throughout the weekend.

2.  The Grapes Are Getting Ripe – Want to Taste?
As an estate winery, Johnson Estate owns and manages its own vineyards.  Thirteen varieties of grapes are grown on 115 acres and and harvest begins in early September.  We will have samples of the early-ripening grapes for you to taste!:  – Marechal Foch, Pinot Noir, Chancellor, Seyval Blanc, and Niagara.

3. Morning Meditation and Yoga Plus Wine, Monday, September 1st
Sue Murphy will be offering the last of her late summer series of Yoga Classes on Saturday, September 1st.  Join her at 10am – the class is appropriate for all attendees and is followed by included wine tastings.  Please bring your yoga mat!  $15/person

4.  For the Weekend - 20% Case Discount or Free Shipping Home
We know that a lot of people are traveling during Labor Day weekend, and if it is hot, carrying wine in the car is problematic.  So, for the weekend, purchase a case of twelve bottles of wine at Johnson Estate and choose either a 20% discount to take the wine home with you – OR get free shipping to your home (Note: available to NY, PA, OH, and thirty other states).

5.  Red Wines
Fall is coming and we’ll be celebrating our dry red wines during the weekend – with a special wine display.  We’ll also have a Red Wine Gift Basket – leave your email address and get a chance to win this “suitcase” with red wines.

6.  On the Tasting Menu
On our tasting menu in the winery during Labor Day Weekend, we will feature a red wine of your choice paired with Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.  $2.50

7. Centennial Farm Celebration Dinner – A Winemaker’s Dinner
Early in 2018, Johnson Estate was awarded a Centennial Farm Designation by the NYS Agricultural Society – which recognizes family farms which have been owned and operated by the same family for over one hundred years.  We’ll be celebrating with a winemaker’s dinner in November which will feature current vintages as well as some choice library wines.  More information coming soon. 

Time Posted: Aug 31, 2018 at 5:27 AM Permalink to Labor Day Weekend at Johnson Estate Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
June 6, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Ruby Dry Rose

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 14, 2018                 CONTACT:  Jennifer Johnson 513-502-0123

Johnson ESTATE Winery:  Releases New Dry Rosé
Made in traditional French fashion from estate-grown Maréchal Foch

Westfield, (NY) – To start.  What is the most popular wine in France?  Today, it is rosé.  In fact, since 2008, sales of rosé wines in France have actually been higher than sales of white or red wines.  Twenty years ago in the United States, rosé was thought of as a light, pink, sweet “beach” wine.  Today, more sophisticated rosé wines, often on the dry side, are experiencing a burgeoning popularity in the United States, amongst both Millennials and general wine drinkers – just as in France ten years ago.   Imports of French rosé wine to the United States increased 58% in 2015 alone – and over the last fifteen years have risen from a mere 158 thousand liters in 2001 to 7.800 million liters in 2015. 

Johnson Estate Winery’s 2017 Ruby Dry Rosé
In early May, just as spring was struggling to arrive in western New York, Johnson Estate’s winemaker, Jeff Murphy, confirmed that the winery’s most recent Dry Rosé was ready to be put on the shelves.   The rich ruby color of this wine positively glows in its clear glass bottle.  In addition, the bottle has a tempered glass cork – a pale pink re-sealable Vino-lok glass cork - which is also popular in Europe for rosé wines.

What’s the Saignée Method?
Johnson Estate’s 2017 Ruby Dry Rose was made from estate-grown Maréchal Foch grapes which were picked when fully ripe.  The juice was “bled off” just an hour or so after the grapes were picked and the remaining grapes were used to make our traditional Maréchal Foch varietal wine.  Thus, this light and fresh rosé juice has not been through the press nor is it fermented with grape skins.  This traditional process of making rosé wine is called “the saignée method”.  The resulting crisp, ruby-colored wine has an aroma of strawberries and cranberries and a velvety and full mouth-feel redolent of raspberries.  Strong elements of fresh fruit and very light tannins result in the perfect summer wine.

Johnson Estate’s Ruby Dry Rosé joins a portfolio of award-winning dry, semi-dry, and sweet wines made from both classic vinifera grapes (Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as younger French varietals (Maréchal Foch, Chambourcin, Seyval and Vidal Blanc, and Chancellor).

Johnson Estate Winery, with 115 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.

[Photo Credit:  John Conti, Jamestown, NY]

Time Posted: Jun 6, 2018 at 6:53 PM Permalink to Ruby Dry Rose Permalink
Frederick Johnson
May 13, 2018 | Frederick Johnson

What's Bud Break?

Bang!  Starting Gun. 
"Bud Break" announces the start of a new growing season in the vineyards - a new vintage begins.

Will there be enough heat-light units to finish the race at harvest with gold medal quality grapes for the year's wine?  Or will we come up short, with grapes insufficiently ripe to make the best wines? 

In 2017, "bud break" - officially when half of the buds on the grape vine are showing at least the edge of half of a leaf - was about two weeks early.  This year, we're about five days late than the May 4th average.  Last year was ideal for producing excellent vintages; not too cool, not too wet; long mild fall; just right.  Five days later than the average bud break in 2018 is no great handicap, but the vineyards will need a little extras heat during the summer (but not over 90° please)
and extra sunny days to arrive at harvest in "medal form" this year.

Time Posted: May 13, 2018 at 7:11 PM Permalink to What's Bud Break? Permalink
Jeff Murphy
April 1, 2018 | Jeff Murphy

Update on Estate Rose

We’d rather ship ‘18 Pinot for now because the ‘19 could use a few weeks to settle down in the bottle and lose a little of the astringency in its finish while the ‘18 will eventually transition from “soft” to flat. However we might consider some kind of promo where you buy both and compare them yourself. 

Jeff and I just did a room temperature taste comparison between these two.

‘18 is smoother, softer with nice finish and fresh fruit aromas.
‘19 has same aroma but brighter and more pronounced. It has a crisper finish.
Both nicely balanced and tasty through the middle.
‘19 has pink glass cork; ‘18 has clear.
‘19 has bright, light pink color; ‘18 the same but with warm salmon highlights. 

Time Posted: Apr 1, 2018 at 11:08 AM Permalink to Update on Estate Rose Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
February 16, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Sparkling Traminette Wins Double GOLD

& Best of Class & Best of Show Sparkling

Six other vintages win Gold Medals

Johnson Estate is very excited and proud to announce the following awards at the
2018 East Meets West Wine Competition.  The multiple accolades for our favorite Sparkling Traminette are, we believe, well-deserved.  It is an elegant and delicious wine, complementary to a wide variety of food, ranging from appetizers to desserts.

2016 Sparkling Traminette: 

2016 Founders' Red: GOLD

2016 Niagara: GOLD, BEST OF CLASS

2016 Concord: GOLD

2016 Vidal Ice Wine: GOLD

In addition, Beverage Testing Institute (Tastings.com) just released
its ratings for Johnson Estate's 2016 vintages of Riesling and Traminette:

2016 Sweet Riesling:  GOLD, Exceptional, 90 Points
2016 Traminette:  GOLD, Exceptional, 90 Points
2016 Black Locust Dry Riesling:  SILVER, Highly Recommended, 89 Points
2016 Dry Riesling:  SILVER, Highly Recommended, 89 Points
2016 Semi-Dry Riesling:  SILVER, Highly Recommended, 89 Points


Time Posted: Feb 16, 2018 at 3:09 PM Permalink to Sparkling Traminette Wins Double GOLD Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
January 28, 2018 | Jennifer Johnson

Estate Wineries: Controlling Quality from Bud to Bottle

So, just what are estate wines?  Why is it important to know?
Why does Johnson Estate include it in its brand/name?

The Estate Label
Producing estate-grown and bottled wines is analagous to the French phrase "mis-en-boteille en chateau" - wine bottled at the estate/chateau.  "Estate" wineries, which have a financial interest and own the vineyards AND the winery provides incentives to maximize quality of grape production, not quantity, and thus gives the winery in question some good advantages and attributes.

The U.S. government, through the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (known as the TTB), sets the requirements for wineries that want to use the word "estate" on their labels. 

  • Estate-labelled wine must be made from grapes either grown on land owned or controlled by the winery.
  • Those grapes must be in the same viticultural area as the winery. 
  • The winery must crush, ferment, and finish the wines - bottled and aged - on the winery premises. 

Thus, an "estate winery" is one whose operations are vertically integrated to include farming/growing of grapes in vineyards owned by the winery, wine-making, and bottling. As an estate winery, Johnson Estate's vineyard practices are wholly integrated into the production of its wines, and quality, rather than quantity, is the governing principle from bud to bottle.

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2018 at 11:45 AM Permalink to Estate Wineries: Controlling Quality from Bud to Bottle Permalink
Jennifer Johnson
December 16, 2017 | Jennifer Johnson

ICE Wine - How Sweet It Is

"ICE Wine - How Sweet It Is"
Edible Western NY
by Christine A. Smyczynski, Photos by Publisher Stephanie Schuckers Burdo

Time Posted: Dec 16, 2017 at 4:00 PM Permalink to ICE Wine - How Sweet It Is Permalink
Frederick Johnson
December 15, 2017 | Frederick Johnson

ICE WINES: Mother Nature is the one who decides....

Dear Mother Nature,
Thanks for getting me up so early Thursday morning.  The stars were sparkling over the vineyards as I tromped through knee-deep snow hoping for an early harvest. 

Each winter, we watch the long-range weather forecasts to see when you will bless us with several "cold-enough" days (that means 12-15 degrees!) to crystallize the juice in the grapes we net for ice wine.  Earlier this week, it began to look promising, and we'd sent out the "Ice Wine Harvest Alert" to all our hardy volunteers. 

So, on Thursday, well before dawn, I stopped in the midst of the snowy Chambourcin vineyard to check on the state of the grapes set aside for ice wine.   When I popped a grape berry into my mouth, it was slushy.....but not yet crunchy.  A no go......not cold enough.  Then I had to text the volunteers:  "stay in bed!".

So, back to watching your weather.  In the meantime, and for all of the regular folk too, here's a link to an article on ice wines in the most recent issue of Edible Western New York.  Publisher, Stephanie Schuckers Burdo, was with us last December and took that photo of me hauling a crate full of Chambourcin; then she put the camera down and helped with the harvest! 

Fred Johnson, A hopeful vignernon

Time Posted: Dec 15, 2017 at 11:02 AM Permalink to ICE WINES:  Mother Nature is the one who decides.... Permalink

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