For quite a while now, I've toyed with the idea of becoming a home winemaker. Time isn't exactly something I have a surplus of these days, but making and bottling my own vino is something I think would be such an amazing process.
But, instead of going out and buying so-so home winemaking equipment and blindly working my way through the fermentation process with purchased juice or concentrate I'm taking it one step further.
LENNDEVOURS contributor Richard Olsen-Harbich, who also happens to be the managing director and winemaker for Raphael, one of Long Island's premier merlot makers, has offered to let me adopt 25 cabernet franc for the season. The vines are nine years old, planted in 1997.
Obviously I've already missed pruning season, but it is my plan to visit "my" vines as much as possible and chronicle their growth, development etc. throughout the growing season.
But that's not all. Come harvest time, I plan to pick the grapes myself, stomp them and make wine out of them...all under the tutelage of Rich in Raphael's winery.
We'll probably make 3-4 cases of 2006 cabernet franc, tentatively scheduled for release in June or July of 2007.
Of course, you, my readers, will be there with me every step of the way. I'm hoping to get out to Peconic either this weekend or next to take pictures of my adopted vines.
I'd like to make a white wine too, but I think maybe I'll stick with the cab franc this year. I'd tell you to reserve your bottle today, but I expect this vintage to sell out to my ultra-exclusive wine club withing hours of its release. This will be a cult bottling priced at, say, $425 per bottle.