An Update from Oskar
It’s been a while, but I am finally taking some time to share some Wiemer updates for our wine industry friends!
Fred, Maressa and I are now into our 10th year running the winery, after taking over from Hermann (although it is Fred’s 16th vintage at Wiemer). This decade has seen it all: countless barn and winery renovations; cellar updates; nursery development; tremendous new staff; wonderful visitors; new plantings; plenty of mishits (or, as we like to think of it, plenty of vital lessons learnt); house building; baby-making (Fred and Maressa have got 2 kids; meanwhile, Lydiah and I are breathless just trying to keep up with our three year old daughter); and last, but not least, the greater – and deserved – attention that Riesling and The Finger Lakes in general have continued to attract.
As we mark our decade, we can confidently state that the Winery is in good place. At the moment, we’re getting ready to welcome what is set to be a promising fall, which comes in wake of a cool, slightly wet summer.
Not that the weather did anything to dampen spirits at the Winery! Tasting-room visits continued to hit new heights, and we spent the better part of the summer pouring wine flights, giving tours, shaking hands and kissing babies. It was great to welcome several of you and we hope to see even more of you, your families and staff here soon. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out and set up a trip with your staff. We enjoy hosting and we would love to make your visit educational as well as fun.
As our wines continue to gain a wider audience, it has enhanced our sense of connection to the markets around the country. I hope that more of your restaurants and wine shops will see a corresponding increase in requests for, and features about, Finger Lakes wines as more wine lovers discover what this part of the world has to offer.
Below are some further updates about our wines. I hope to give you more regular updates in the future and thank you again for your interest in our wines. Peace! / Oskar
Geeky and Important – We are now working exclusively with indigenous yeast throughout our whole production.
Starting in 2003, in some carboys that would eventually be the Select Late Harvest Riesling, we began our first trials with indigenous yeast fermentation. The animating idea then is one that has persisted throughout the intervening thirteen vintages. Unique vineyard sites are home to a unique mix of yeast strains. Those strains are as essential to the expression of a site as its variations in soil type, aspect, or elevation.
Fermentations that rely on native yeasts are typically slower and longer. The extended contact with lees has benefits— additional texture and flavor complexity— but it comes with risks. So, it is fitting that the process of mitigating those risks began with the vineyard itself.
Healthy indigenous fermentations require a healthy vineyard ecosystem. To explore the full potential of our indigenous yeast strains we first focused on increasing biodiversity within our vineyards. We built up natural defenses, researching and attracting beneficial species and planting site-specific cover crops. We simultaneously began eliminating inputs like synthetic herbicides and insecticides that could damage our native yeast colonies. These efforts in the vineyards, combined with diligent hand selection at harvest, ensured the health of our fruit, in turn enabling us to run healthier, longer fermentations with confidence.
By 2008, all of the fermentations for our estate Rieslings relied exclusively on indigenous yeasts. Our Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, the primary fermentations for our sparkling wine, and fermentations for our red varietals would follow suit in subsequent years. These transitions highlighted the deep links between our vineyard sites, our harvests, and our finished wines. As we realized in those first, early trials, the additional structure and depth we taste in the tanks each winter are not the point of this approach; they are a welcome feature.
NEW WINE: Field blend of Grüner Veltliner (45%), Riesling (30%) and early pickings of Chardonnay (25%).
Our enthusiasm for innovation and discovery continues. Last year alone for instance, we organized 34 hand picks just in our Riesling blocks. Extensive research from our nursery blocks and mother-plants for grafting added to experimental plantings and pickings of varieties, giving us a spectrum of grapes and rendering of styles.
With this specific new wine, we began with a base of Grüner and blended pressed juice from Chardonnay vin clair (the base wine for sparkling) picked in 2015, to underpin the weight from Riesling without losing the rich texture.
Non-vintage, crisp, light and dry, with a stellar value proposal, this wines is currently available through Skurnik Upstate, NJ and in NYC. Chicago is next in line, and then we will gradually launch in different markets.
See link for details.
We are really excited about releasing this wine: not only has the 2015 been out of stock for many months, the texture and the ripe fruit dominate the palette of the 2016 vintage. Although it’s a youthful wine, it has well-rounded and mature flavors.
Ever been to a neighbor’s house where the kids’ glowing report cards are discreetly-yet-ever-so-noticeably pinned to the fridge? Well, we are those neighbors! Below is our family-fridge posting for guests to peek at:
Our 2015 reserves and single vineyard Rieslings are getting some stellar reviews. We are really rather excited about the 2015s as it was a challenging growing season with bud damage, a wet spring, followed by a cool summer. However, the fall was dry and warm, which saved the vintage. As a result, most of the 2015s were produced in smaller quantities, but the quality of the wines are terrific.
The first sniff and swirl of the Magdalena Riesling was awarded 95 Points! by JamesSuckling.com. The HJW single vineyard, the Riesling Dry and Reserve Dry were all awarded between 94 and 92 points by James Suckling as well. Robert Parker scored these wines at 92-93 points. Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast also got excited about them, awarding them several 90 to 94 point ratings. The solid A’s came from the HJW and Magdalena Single Vineyard Rieslings, with 94 points awarded to both by Wine Enthusiast.
The sparkling wines are also getting some attention, with Parker awarding 90 and 93 points for the Cuvee Brut and Blanc De Blanc.
See this link for the whole line up of media attention: http://wiemer.com/reviews/
PBS caught me on camera with Austrian chef, Erwin (from “Erwin Cooks”). Erwin’s mission is to find the source of all the good food, wine and beer that has so heavily influenced the American palate. They not only had the good fortune of visiting the Finger Lakes but received two EMMY® nominations for Cinematography. The nominations must surely be a result of the spectacular mid-October scenery of the Finger Lakes wine region, and the unbeatable pairing of Dry Riesling with Wienerschnitzel, of course! Enjoy the clip here.