Winemaker’s Musings September 2019 Well it has been a couple months or so since my last entry. After our bitter winter we expected low crop amounts on a number of varieties, but were pleasantly surprised to find the best production number in years as the growing season itself was very good. Drier would have been better though! Several years ago we noticed the vineyard was declining in production. Five years ago we knew it was time to figure this issue out. Jimmy, my vineyard manager, and I put our heads together and made several changes to our vineyard program. This year was the first where that program change, started five years ago, paid dividends. We had record harvests of our Edelweiss, Frontenac, and LaCrosse. We also used machine harvesting of some varieties for the first time. It worked out great. We started at 0400 in the morning. Us ex-military types would call that 0 dark thirty! Were done picking by 1030 or so. Of course, we processed until 2300, or 1100 PM. That was a very long day for this not too old, old guy! The only varieties left to pick are the Traminette, Chardonel, and Chambourcin. Quality is good. Unsure of this years Syrah. It had the most damage from the deep cold and therefore produced more “secondary clusters”. These are grape clusters that come out later so they do not get fully ripe. A new variety, the Petite Pearl, has great chemistries and good mellow tannin structure. We have high hope for this variety as a very good dry red. It looks like the bar will shift a bit sweeter on our semisweet and sweet wine varieties because there is more acid in most. Aromas are all great! We have a new addition to Soaring Wings. Nicole Eagin is my winery assistant and Head Winemaker in training. She has studied Food Science at Iowa State and worked at wineries in California, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. She knows her way around the vineyard, crush pad, barrel room, and lab. She has a great palate and nose. Say hello when you see her! Cheers, Jim