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June 17, 2010

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The Riesling was made from a blend of Estate Riesling and Finger Lakes Riesling.

Thanks for the insight, Debbie. Their website shows a painful lack of information and the three emails I sent asking weren't responded to.

I guess I should know better and just come to you :)

Where you are getting your information on trucking damage? While I am sure it can occur over long periods of time, trucking fruit or juice the short distance from the FL to the Hudson valley presents no difficulties. We buy a lot of fruit in the finger lakes and the trip from there to here is not a factor. It's pretty straight forward to keep grapes cool.

I was told today that this wine has Riesling in it from Long Island as well. Just want to make sure all the facts are out there.

Duncan: I've had at least half a dozen people here locally lament the fact that they have to (or have in the past) truck grapes just down the road (or from one fork to another). Others often mention getting grapes from vine into the winery as quickly as possible because they start to deteriorate no matter how well you handle them.

The compression alone during shipping is a negative, no?

Debbie: I just saw that same bit of info in the NYWGF weekly newsletter. Now I'm even more curious to taste Mike's own estate riesling on its own. Maybe he'll do that in the future?

Grapes are shipped all the time, all over the world. Think about the grocery store - do the grapes look compressed to you?

Mechanically harvested grapes are 25-75% crushed depending on the harvester used. If not treated well they can have issues with fermentation and bacterial spoilage(sulfur and cool temps correct this). Hand harvested grapes sit in individual 30 pound "lugs" similar to the table grapes you see in the store. The lugs have holes for air circulation to keep things cool - especially in a refrigerated truck.

There are lots of myths out there and this is one. Yes, problems can happen, but with care and planning (and $$) the problems can be avoided.

Duncan: I'm not sure that comparing wine grapes to table grapes is exactly apples to apples -- and the bottom layer of grapes in many bags I see at the supermarket are damaged.

If there really isn't any problem shipping grapes, would you be happy making all of your wines from purchased and shipped grapes? Wouldn't you rather have as much estate-grown stuff to work with as possible?

This is a strange debate. It is impossible to think that there are absolutely no issues with shipping grapes. If you want to assert that the level of success is very high - higher than most people might assume - well, that would be one thing. But to imply that there is zero issue and it's roughly the same as picking from your own vineyard? There's no real debate here, is there?

All I am saying is that there are ways to ship successfully (read above - with care, planning and $$). I've seen grapes ruined through poor harvesting techniques in a winery's own vineyard. It's always about techniques and process whether it is the winery's vineyard or shipping grapes in. Most wineries buy fruit and a good percentage buy more fruit than they grow, ourselves included. Many wineries in the Finger Lakes buy from Long Island and even the trip across the Finger Lakes can be several hours. There are lots of trucks on NY roads in the fall moving grapes. There are many grape brokers as well.

From a shipping standpoint why wouldn't table grapes would be a good analogy to wine grapes? Table grapes are shipped from South America - that's gotta be tricky, but they do show up fine.

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