Comments Off on An Indiana Uplands Vineyard Update
Winter is passing by once again, and we're looking forward to the bright colors and sunlight to come with spring! Here among the vineyards in the Indiana Uplands, each season has its unique qualities and demands. Of course, we can't perfectly predict the variety of highs and lows to come in each year's weather patterns, but our winemakers and vineyard managers have plans for vine management in each season. The steps we take throughout the winter, spring, and summer optimize growth and lead to the high-quality fruit we are proud to harvest in fall.
So, how has this winter shaped up in Indiana's Wine Country and what have we been up to the last few months? We sat down and uncorked a bottle of Turtle Run's Catawba with owner and winemaker Jim Pfeiffer to bring you an Indiana Uplands Vineyard Update:
This winter has been relatively steady, considering our capricious climate. Tracking temperatures year-to-year is critical to our successes, according to Jim. He recalls the iconic 2012 "Polar Vortex" of drastically colder temperatures and explains how overall lows during winters have been lower since then. "While the overall winter average daily temperature hasn't gone down per se, our lows have gone from bottoming out around 14 degrees to now around zero or just above. That's a big difference." Despite this new normal, 2018 hasn't brought any extended dips in temperature or extremely harsh days that would throw off or concern our vineyard managers.
We're still looking out for cold temperatures through April. March has been cooler than normal, which is keeping eager vines at bay. That's a good thing, Jim says, as we don't want budding new shoots to arrive too early and risk their demise with the potential of a late frost. "The longer we can extend the cold and delay bud break, the better." In keeping a close eye at weather patterns each year, Jim has noted that the weeks of April 3-8 and October 1-4 tend to bring strong cold fronts. So, we'll be happy if bud break holds on until closer to that week in April, and then the green can begin to flourish on the vines from there.
The grape varieties we're known for do very well in our winters. Part of successfully growing grapes in the Indiana Uplands AVA is knowing which varietals can withstand our unique climate. We're not in Central California; we are in beautiful, Southern Indiana! Our land enjoys four distinct seasons, and winter is just as important as the rest. The cold gives our vines time to rest, recharge, and get ready to produce delicious fruit. The hybrid varieties many of our wineries grow (like Traminette, Chambourcin, and Catawba) are happy here in the Indiana Uplands, and can withstand zero degree winters with little to no trouble. One of Jim's most winter-hardy varietals at Turtle Run is Frontenac: "We planted Frontenac several years ago, and every single bud is alive all the way to the end of the canes. It's crazy. Crazy awesome, that is."
Our vineyard crews have been very busy pruning. "How we prune our vines is absolutely paramount to our successes for the upcoming season," Jim says. While harvest season in the fall is the height of busyness among the vines, our crews are diligent in the winter and spring, carefully pruning the vines to perfection. Selective cutting of shoots helps us manage the amount of clusters growing on each vine as well as the amount of leaf canopy over the clusters. It is vital that we optimize the number of grape clusters on each vine as to take full advantage of the vine's nutrition for each cluster- a quality over quantity approach. Canopy management allows us to control the amount of sunlight and the impact of cool breezes on the grapes. Sunlight helps the fruit ripen and develop rich flavors while the breezes control temperatures and help fight disease. Prune, prune, prune.
We're looking forward to a bountiful growth in our vineyards this year, and we're excited to share with you the wonderful Indiana Wines to come! Come see us along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail so we can pour you a glass.
Comments Off on March Happenings at Turtle Run Winery
Each & every month we debut at least 2 different vintages or blends. For March, there should be considerably more. Look for new releases throughout the month of Max’s Small Batch Red with our 48th version. For those unfamiliar with Max’s Small Batch Red’s, they are our top of the line dry red blends.
And we don’t hold back.
The staff decides what style of Max’s (normally bold as can be) we want, then we start blending from the 50 barrels of wine. We don’t care what the vintage is, nor grape varieties. The desire is to blend a consistently complex dry red with a long, lingering finish.
We just debuted our Dry Traminette 2016, a barrel fermented traminette, sur lie, or on the lees or aged on the yeast. Before fermentation, we soaked the juice on the crushed skins for 4 hours before pressing to release complex phenolics from the skins into the juice soon to be wine. The aromas are of cotton candy and vanilla with lots of complex and boundless fruity flavors.
Expect us to bottle zinfandel, syrah, cabernet franc, some barrel fermented Vignoles and towards the end of the month, our big seller, Blue My Mind, made from the Steuben grape. If you like sweeter wines, come try the entire “My Mind” line up of sweet wines made according to the European laws, in which we arrest or stop fermentation and not back-add sugars or juices to sweeten the wine. Slip My Mind, for instance, is pure Niagara….well, no it’s not. It has a small percentage of Diamond (yet another grape variety) in it. Or perhaps Crossed My Mind, a blended red.
Additionally, it’s quite easy to find us in the vineyard at this time, so stop by and say “Hi” as we prune, prune and prune some more.
Comments Off on Indy International Wine Competition results!
The results are in from the Indy International Wine Competitions, one of the largest and most respected contests in the United States, in which 20 countries were represented this year with 2100 wines entered in 74 different wine classes. For instance, Zinfandel would be a class, as would many other grape varieties, including Chardonel and Chambourcin. In addition, there are blended wine categories too.
The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wineries won 10 of the 74 classes! And we didn’t even have wines represented in every class.
But first, the big kudos go out to Huber’s Orchard and Winery. Congratulations Ted Huber for winning the Indiana Winemaker of the Year, and for Huber’s Orchard and Winery for winning the Governor’s Cup!
Also, a super great job goes out to French Lick Winery for winning the Traminette of the Year with their 2014 vintage. Traminette is the Indiana state grape, so this is a big award!
Winning a class means a winery had the very best entry in that classification. Those aren’t easy to win, especially considering our wines are judged against the best the world is entering.
So here is a list of the Best in Class!
Berry Wines – Best Vineyards
Carbonated – Huber Winery
Catawba – Huber Winery
Chambourcin – French Lick Winery
Chardonel – Butler Winery
Niagara – Turtle Run Winery
Other White Hybrids – Huber Winery
Pinot Gris / Grigio – Oliver Winery
Red American Blend – Turtle Run Winery
Sauvignon Blanc – Oliver Winery
When visiting the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wineries, exceptional wine exists everywhere. Each winery contributed to the following medal count.
Double Gold – All judges who tried these wines deemed them gold medal deserving. Not an easy feat. Only 6.6 % of all wines meet this mark. Indiana Upland Wineries – 10 double gold medals
Gold Medals – The standard bearer of excellence. Only 12% of all wines achieve this mark. Indiana Upland Wineries – 18 gold medals.