Archive for April, 2013

Winemaking is a Celebration

April 27th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

060Wine drinkers often drink wine as a celebration.  I like to think of it as a holistic celebration of life.  First comes the growing of the grapes.  This process requires us to work in concert with nature (and we choose to do this organically and holistically) for approximately nine months, to produce the best possible fruit.  During that process, there are dozens of workers using their eyes, hands, minds, and feet to work the vines and nurture the soil.  We must dance with the weather and sing to the sun.  And thus we celebrate the harvest of the fruit we have toiled to grow all summer long.

In the winery, it is a concert of activity mostly performed by the fruit itself; fermenting, fermenting again, and then growing and aging in barrel.  And there are many of us performing different activities to ensure a safe environment for the grapes to do what they do best.  So it is a cadence and movement that are performed in the winery to evolve the wine into something new.  At the time of bottling, we again celebrate the completion of another stage in the evolution of the wine.

With the wine in bottle, there is a dance and song that many individuals perform as the wine is marketed, transported, and sold throughout the world to the end consumer.  Everything that goes into grape growing and winemaking and wine selling, I do not view as many individual businesses just doing their jobs.  We are all working in concert, in the celebration of life, as family.

 

Wine & Civilization

April 23rd, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Wine  civilizationWho would have ever thought there would be wine grapes grown, and wine made, in every state in the country today?  Having grown up in the midwest, it’s inconceivable to me that grapes are being grown in North Dakota, Montana, or Iowa.  But they are.  Did you know that prior to prohibition, Oregon farmers were growing grapes and making wine?  Missouri was the largest grape-growing state at the time, and New York was the largest producer of wine.  And at the same time Spanish priests were planting grapes in California, Thomas Jefferson was planting them in Virginia.

It is amazing that everywhere people live, and in fact, wherever civilization has existed, grapes have been grown and wine has been made. There is proof that wine was produced by ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece as early as 4000 BC.

So I suggest that growing grapes and making wine is not just a lifestyle, it is part of the human condition.  It is natural and even inherent to grow, produce, and consume a product that is founded on farming and fermentation.

So explore the contrasts of wine from different regions across our great country.  While we may have many different beliefs, priorities and climates; we seem to all enjoy the growing of grapes and the making of wine.   Maybe this is what is meant by “purple mountain majesties”!

 

 

Message in a Bottle

April 13th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

message in a bottleGenerally wine lovers cherish fond memories of the occasion for which they opened a particular bottle of wine.  Whether a gathering of close friends, an enchanting gala, or a quiet evening by the fire, we can think back to what made that time meaningful.

For me as a winemaker, I am transported back to the year that wine was created.  Immediately after uncorking a wine, the deep aromas and first sip remind me of what was happening with our family and farm the year the grapes were grown and the wine was barreled.  Any weather anomalies we may have had that year, any especially wet or dry months, late freezes or perfect Indian summers rise to the surface.  What else happened during that summer?  Maybe a calf was born, one of our girls took their first bike ride or acted in a local theater play, we got a new loader, we lost a tote of grapes at harvest, or the birds invaded with more gusto than usual.

A singular open bottle evokes memories of the winemaking itself during that season – the evolution of the wine, whether the fermentation went fast or slow, how it tasted going into barrel, the magic of one particular barrel in the cellar, and of course the release of the vintage.  Every sip of that wine is a celebration of the life that transpired that year – both the good times and the challenges.

 

A Wine Country Spa Day

April 6th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

spa blogI had the pleasure of being treated to a spa day at the Allison.  I was not disappointed.  It was a luxurious spa experience that provided relaxation and rejuvenation that I really needed.   It combines a day experience that is calming, relaxing and blissfully indulgent. They have a vast array of rejuvenating therapies.  I recommend doing it with a friend and planning extra time to relax onsite before and after.  Its an easy drive from Youngberg Hill and many of our guests go for a spa experience.  Now I can talk with them about the whole adventure.  This is a great treat for a few hours or even a half day when in Oregon’s Wine Country.   I am now stress free for the moment and isn’t that every woman’s wish?