Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mead, Cyser & More

With the winery closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the winter, we're able to take a few field trips. And no one has to stay at home to "watch the store."

We took our first field trip this past Wednesday to Munro Honey & Meadery in Alvinston, Ontario (about 30 miles east of Sarnia). Mead is made by fermenting honey to produce a wine-like beverage.

They've been in business for about 90 years, but mostly selling honey. The meadery only began about 6 or 7 years ago.

Holly has made a few small batches of cyser (apple & honey wine) and perry (pear & honey wine), but had lots of questions for John, the commercial mead-maker who took us on a tour of the facilities. She was interested in how long he ages his meads, what type of yeast he uses, that sort of thing. He was extremely generous with his time and information.

Their facility was very quiet, as you would expect in the depths of winter. However, one of the nicest advantages of working with honey is that it doesn't spoil. So you can store it and begin the mead-making process at any time of the year. A refreshing thought after the craziness of the harvest season!

The Munro Meadery makes a range of meads including dry, semi-sweet, and some fruit meads (also know as melomels). We brought several meads and a raspberry melomel home with us -- we seem to naturally gravitate to raspberry, don't we?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Jefferson Cup

We've never been particularly good about entering wine competitions. They take quite a bit of time and money. You send in 3 or 4 bottles of each wine you're entering, along with an entry fee for each one, and by the time you add up the postage, cost of the wine, entry fee, and your effort.... well, we've never been sure it was really worth it.

However, wine competitions belong in the category of learning-as-we-go. It's constantly amazing to us how many visitors rely on medals when they decide which wines to try. I saw it over and over while working in the Dexter tasting room.

The funny thing is, most of our wines that don't have medals, don't have them because we've never entered them into competitions. It's not that the medaled wines are better, it's generally that we simply haven't bothered to enter the others into competition. So we're trying to get better about entering.

About 6 or 8 weeks ago we were invited to enter the Jefferson Cup, a wine competition held in Missouri by Master Sommelier, Doug Frost. It's an interesting competition -- it doesn't give out standard medals. Rather they have several designations for selected wines they wish to honor. We recently received the results -- our Dry Traminette and CraneBerry were designated as "Certificate of American Merit" wines and our "Traminette" was designated as an "American Example of Greatness."

So I guess it's time to enter more competitions...

Am I Insane?


Across the country, businesses are closed and the owners and staff are enjoying a day off. Not us. Today is our "January White Sale." All white wines are on sale for one day only.

We tried this a year or two ago, thinking that there were probably a lot of folks out there who didn't want to be glued to the barcalounger all day. That maybe 4 football games in one day was too much. Or that they still had holiday visitors and were looking for some way to entertain them. And we were right.

I don't think we'll be crazy-busy today, but we should see a nice crowd. Visiting a local winery is a fun thing to do on your last day before you go back to work.

Perhaps we'll do our resting next week.

And Happy New Year to all!